Congratulations to the high school National Finalists of the 2013 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge! Click here to view the elementary and middle school National Finalists.
Team Name Team Cahaba
Location Hoover, Alabama
School Hoover High School
Teacher/Mentor Janet Ort
Description We chose to focus on promoting awareness of the Cahaba River and its great biodiversity. We did so by creating a graphic novel to educate kids in the 4th-8th grades about the effects of climate change and human impacts on the Cahaba River. We worked with local middle and elementary schools to educate them about local issues and merge ongoing and future projects.
Description Our goal is to raise awareness and increase the use of green energy. In order to achieve this goal we produced a miniaturized wind turbine that can be attached to several different apparatuses, in turn charging a battery which can then be used to power a multitude of devices.
Description We researched the effect of plastic six-pack rings on the ocean and decided to find a replacement that is safer for the environment. We hypothesized that “If an experiment where cardboard, recycled cardboard, plastic, and biodegradable plastic are put into 2000-mL beakers for 12 days to compare the pH, dissolved O2, and dissolved CO2 levels, recycled cardboard will be the most similar to the control”. We decided that the best solution is to create a material that becomes soft and breaks down like cardboard but whose pH, dissolved O2, and dissolved CO2 levels were unaffected, like plastic.
Description After an extensive amount of research and observation, the Fresh Princesses of BEL-Archer discovered that material waste is a huge problem in our school community. We hypothesized that if our schools lunch provider modifies the way they serve their food, there will be a decrease in the amount of packaging waste at the Archer School for Girls. After weeks of experimentation, we discovered that the method in which food is served greatly affects the accumulated amount of packaging waste, so much so that if Archer changes its lunch serving style, the lunch program’s waste production will be reduced by half.
Description The purpose of our project is to: 1) learn more about the connection between carbon dioxide emission from its dissolved state in ocean and global warming, 2) and to teach people about the looming threat in their lives.
Description Our project is centered around Garbology, the study of Garbage. We focus on the change our school has made over the last three years, dealing with proper and improper waste disposal. Our efforts throughout Middle and High school have caused significant differences in the ways our school takes care of their waste management.
Description Our team will compare the amount of potato chip bags recycled before and after an awareness campaign on recycling potato chip bags. The campaign will include a survey of 100 students on campus to determine if they know what products are recyclable, and if given a convenient way to recycle, would they, and campus announcements. We will place collection boxes next to trash cans around the school, so that students can recycle hard-to-recycle products, like potato chip bags to determine if awareness and knowledge affects whether people recycle or not.
Description The project is an endeavor to reduce the carbon footprint in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner through the concept of a grass roof, or green roof. Because it can decrease energy usage via insulation and better the air quality through photosynthesis, a green roof provides a win-win situation for the environment and the user, possibly making it one of the best ways to have everyone help contribute to the fight against global warming.
Description We want to make recycling bins with holes on the top so that only bottles will go inside the bins. It would prevent people from mistakenly (or purposely) putting trash into the recycling bins. Only the bottles would fit into the holes. This would make it easier for our school to sort through the bottles, if it decides to recycle them for money.
Description We are installing water bottle refilling stations to encourage reuse of bottles over usage of plastic water bottles. By reducing our school's overall plastic bottle usage and reliance, we can save an estimated amount of 12,500 plastic bottles from our school every year.
Description We want to reduce the amount of metal used in our school by persuading teachers to use fewer staplers. By doing so, we believe that we can change the world by reducing the amount of energy used for metal production and for processing of the aluminum used in staplers and staples. If all goes well, then our impact in the school will be significant and that's the change we would love to see.
Description Our goal is to educate the public and our city on the implementation of the light-emitting diode, or LEDs, into city street lights. This phasing in of LEDs will reduce energy consumption and the probability of mercury poisoning among civilians and surrounding landscapes, reduce the amount of mercury that is released into the air through the burning of coal, and increase the environmental benefits. Subjective testing was done using CFLs, incandescents, and LEDs, comparing the general brightness and color output of the bulb. A positive relationship was found between the usage of less wattage and general brightness and color output.
Description Our project explores the traditional use of mainstream inorganic nitrate based fertilizers in the agriculture industry and their implications on natural water resources. We seek to identify the main issues with these traditional fertilizers and their effects on water, as well as solutions to address the concern. Through our project we test these traditional fertilizers and theorize both social and scientific solutions to them.
Description Our project consisted of creating a cheap and efficient way for the average person to produce usable biofuel. We thoroughly researched procedures in order to develop one of our own that contained the best elements from the others. We proceeded to build an apparatus which shows how easily one can cheaply produce biodiesel from waste oil using items available at local hardware and appliance stores.
Description This is a study of solar electrical and recycled power and how it can be used to efficiently run today's electronics. Students from our team have even developed a tricycle with a motor that ran off of solar and electric energy. This is only one of the many ways that solar power can be used in an eco-friendly way.
Description Our group went on two field trips to two different sites to educate our fellow peers and to remove invasive species that are affecting our island. We went on a hike to Palehua along with Mililani Middle School's Tree Huggers and educated them about invasive species and how it affected the island and its native plants and animals. On the second day, we took Mililani High School's JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets) to Pouhala Marsh to educate them and to also remove the invasive species infesting that area.
Description Our project was an experiment to test which of the many CSP solar designs was the most efficient and then publish the results onto a website to inspire others to go solar. Solar hotdog cookers act very similarly to solar panels, and so we used them to find out what solar panel design is the best.
Description Fossil fuels are the main way the world gets its energy, and the main way the Earth’s atmosphere is harmed. There is a way to harness other forms of energy, this energy is called a renewable resource. Solar is a renewable resource that uses light to make energy. We want to use solar energy to charge a laptop and reduce costs of the energy for schools that have laptops. We are doing this by making a desk that, powered by solar energy, will have a cord that will charge a laptop.
Description Our project included investigation into, and encapsulation of heavy metals to reduce the risk of their re-introduction or migration into disturbed freshwater, posing human and environmental risk. We were able to conclude from our two bench experiments that the paraffin wax had a mean reduction of all metals at 90%. The next phase would include another scale-up using the same procedure.
Description Emergency response facilities are often the exception to many energy-efficiency tactics because the purpose of such buildings is to always be ready with little to no prior notice. When equipment must remain running twenty-four/seven it becomes especially important to track unnecessary losses of energy and minimize them. We created an "energy-audit" procedure for hospitals in our city, designed to help identify sources of energy-loss and to suggest counter-measures the hospitals might take to address each. With the hospital's permission, we performed a partial audit, limited in part by restrictive access policies, on the Via Christi St. Francis private hospital.
Description Currently, the effort for conserving the environment and investing in alternative energy sources has proven itself imperative to the success and health of the future generations. Our goal is to design, build, and implement a cost-effective, durable, light-weight attachment that can substantially reduce pollutants and emissions from automobiles and diesel engines. This, with the refinement of other processes, like Exhaust Gas Recycle, has the potential to increase the efficiency of the automobile, reduce the exhaust emissions, improve the economic feasibility of the transportation, and, in the long run, improve the health of those who live in urban developments.
Description In our project, we made multiple changes to our school’s lunches; we implemented new programs for the recycling of bottles in the lunchroom, recycling brown paper bags, and also providing plastic trays instead of foam plates. With these improvements, we were able to significantly reduce our school's trash output and increase recycling output, ultimately reducing the amount of trash put into landfills.
Description This project was designed to test the prototype of a terracotta pot irrigation system which combines the efficiency of terracotta pot irrigation with piping to reduce labor. The procedure compares the prototype to a drip irrigation system to determine whether the prototype is effective based on three criteria: water use, labor time, and crop quality.
Description Our project focuses on sustainability with an emphasis on respect for self, others and, consequently, the environment. We have chosen to concentrate our efforts on recycling within a broad context of respect. We believe that living “green” is not only a lifestyle choice but a way of being.
Description Our team created an energy bike exhibit to educate about the energy crisis and climate change and influence our local community to make environmentally friendly decisions. We hypothesize that children learn and retain more information when it is presented in an exciting way.
Description We researched Aiptasia pallida, a pale sea anemone that lives in coastal and marine waters and Cladiella Nephtheidae (Colt Coral), which is native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Both species of Cnidaria have a mutualistic relationship with their Symbiodinium which fix carbon by photosynthesis and produce oxygen for their hosts. Environmental stresses such as rising ocean temperatures cause Cnidaria to undergo coral bleaching, the process by which their symbiotic relationship is broken leading to weakening and eventually death.
Description Using major wastes including food waste, yard trimmings, and dog waste, we produced biogas through the process of anaerobic digestion in a controlled, warm environment. We were able to turn unwanted waste into environmentally-friendly fuel. In one digester, we kept food wastes and yard trimmings. In the other, we put dog waste and yard trimmings. We kept a record of the amount of gas collected (in balloons) from each digester by measuring the balloons' circumference to see which waste combination would produce the most gas.
Description We made an activated carbon filter in order to remove chlorine from water in an inexpensive and effective way. This could be useful in third-world countries for people who don't have access to clean and uncontaminated drinking water.
Description We conducted an experiment to prove how not picking up after your dog can be harmful to the environment. The results of our experiment showed that not picking up after your dog can hurt the environment and makes soil more acidic. This can help impact the plants and streams surrounding the soil.
Description Our project was geared towards helping to find a wind generator for energy production that could be applied to automobiles. The main goal was to create a system that would provide energy for the inner amenities of the car (AC, GPS, phone charging, etc.) that the main car battery would not have to supply energy for.
Description Our goal was to advocate making homemade compost, to reuse food waste, and to support the use of a natural fertilizer. We compared its use with three other fertilizers, both organic, and inorganic. We also created our own liquid fertilizers with different forms of compost. We want to encourage the everyday use of composting as a method to reduce food waste and create a healthier environment.
Description Acid rain is an environmental hazard that threatens all forms of life on Earth. In order to put a stop to this problem, we will be trying to put bone meal into the soil to neutralize the land. In doing this, the plants will be able to grow normally again and not feel the effects of acid rain.
Description By using iron filings, we plan to neutralize ocean acidification worldwide. These filings help to increase the rate of photosynthesis in dinoflagellates that absorb the excess carbon dioxide in the water, which is the primary cause of acidity.
Description Our project counteracts the negative effects that acid rain has on plant growth. Crushed up egg shells and crushed up oyster shells have been known to make soil more basic. Since acid rain makes soil acidic which hinders plant growth, so adding ground egg and oyster shells to an area that experiences acid rain can offset the soil to make it have a neutral pH.
Description We have found that coconut mesocarp, also known as coir, is a material that can be used to prevent an environmental condition known as hypoxia from developing. This condition is defined when the dissolved oxygen levels reach a dangerously low concentration in marine environments. Hypoxia is a global environmental issue that affects ecosystems and economies globally, and coir is a material that can control the spread of this issue.
Description Our goal is to create a shoe that will have the ability to light up itself using piezoelectricity. We are creating Rochelle Salts and implementing them within the shoe to attach to LED lights.
Description Our project burned organic waste material in an oxygen deprived environment, and we took a look at how much carbon dioxide we can save through this process as an alternative to waste decomposition in dumps. We then calculated the implications if we converted all the wood, yard trimmings, paper, and paperboard in dumps to biochar, using the energy created as a substitute for coal burnings to generate electricity, the revenue made from selling the biochar created, and then comparing biochar as a better alternative to synthetic fertilizer due to its plant growing abilities.
Description I was interested in finding a way to cool the pool water temperature without harming the environment. I developed a solar powered pool areator sytem. The areator system circulated pool water through a solar powered pump and sprayer to cool the water.
School Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science and Technology
Teacher/Mentor Doug Rivers
Description We have created a robot that will track the sun and move to the most lit area in order to charge batteries. This project hopes to join the "go green" movement and lessen the world's dependency on non-renewable resources.
Description In today's world, uses of water create much waste water, that has the potential to be reused, and does not need major sewage or filtration treatment, commonly known as "gray" water. Our project proposes reclaiming this water and using it in a viable manner to both conserve water, a natural resource, and provide water to areas lacking water supply, or reusing it.