Iselin, N.J.,—Sept. 6, 2011—Responsibility for tomorrow’s most daunting environmental problems will fall to the youth of today—the very people creating some of the most inspired solutions. Helping generate these solutions is the premier national sustainability challenge for K–12 students, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which today kicks off its 2012 edition. Students team up with classmates under teacher/mentors to solve environmental problems in their school (grades K–5), community (grades 6–8) and world (grades 9–12).
Now entering its fourth year, the challenge is a collaborative effort of the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the College Board. Students at all levels use scientific investigation and web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education to create a replicable green solution.
“Students have a unique ability to look at entrenched environmental problems with fresh eyes and creative, energized minds,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. “Our goal is to educate, engage and empower them as they analyze these problems, brainstorm solutions, and put their hypotheses to the test. Students have come up with some incredibly impactful ideas over the past three years, many of which have been implemented by schools, communities and organizations. I look forward to seeing what this year’s challenge brings.”
Nearly 18,000 elementary, middle and high school students competed in last year’s challenge, offering innovations in areas such as food-waste-to-energy, community-scale battery recycling, phantom-power load reduction, systematic behavior change, erosion control, wildlife habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture for arid zones. Last year’s Grand Prize winners came from schools all across the country, including:
- West Branch High School, West Branch, Iowa, conducted an energy audit of their high school and found many items that could be improved
- Kohala Middle School, Kapaau, Hawaii, collected over 66,000 batteries in the community for proper disposal
- Barringer Academic Center, Charlotte, N.C., completed a campaign that reduced paper waste in their school
- Concord Hill School, Chevy Chase, Md., reduced car idling by parents at their school by 70 percent
Now it’s your turn
To join this educational initiative toward improving the planet’s outlook, teachers and mentors can register for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, add their student teams and begin formulating their projects at www.wecanchange.com. Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level and value more than $250,000 total, include scholarships, savings bonds, school grants, adventure trips and a chance to present their idea at the United Nations.
A panel of environmental experts and science educators will judge teams based on their research, analysis and the ability of the solution to be replicated on a larger scale. High school students are specifically challenged to address: energy, biodiversity, land management, water conservation and cleanup, or air and climate.
The http://www.wecanchange.com site will help teams get started, offering a robust resource section that includes lesson plans, e-books, virtual labs and more to accompany each stage of the challenge. These materials are created by Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications that provides scientifically proven standards-based digital content and resources to classrooms nationwide.
The deadline for all entries is March 15, 2012. Finalists will be announced in April 2012 and the national winners will be announced in May 2012. For more information on the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, visit http://www.wecanchange.com/or www.facebook.com/wecanchange.
About Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge
The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge (www.wecanchange.com) is the premier national sustainability challenge. It empowers students in grades K–12 to develop and share environmental solutions that can help change the world. The Challenge is a collaborative effort of the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, the College Board and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to educate, empower and engage elementary, middle and high school students and teachers to become “Agents of Change” in improving their schools, communities and world. To date, more than 35,000 students have participated, creatively engaging their communities to find solutions to a local environmental issue or global energy challenge. All participants research their issue using scientific investigation and create a replicable green solution using web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education. For more information, visit www.wecanchange.com.
About the Siemens Foundation
The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages K–12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues. In February 2010 the Siemens Foundation launched its newest initiative, The Siemens STEM Academy, a national STEM education program for teachers designed to support educators in their efforts to foster student achievement in these fields. By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. The Foundation’s mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens’ U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For further information, visit www.siemens-foundation.org.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education. Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement. Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
Lauren Espin for Siemens Foundation
Christina Scripps for Discovery Communications
Kate Falk for NSTA