ISELIN, NJ, May 14, 2012—The Siemens Foundation , Discovery Education , the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the College Board today announced the finalists in the 2012 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a national competition designed to encourage K–12 students to tackle environmental issues in their own communities. These 72 teams—comprised of more than 850 students representing 34 states—will vie for more than $300,000 in scholarships, educational trips, and other prizes for their work on advancing the global green initiative.
The Challenge was developed in 2008 to find fledgling young scientists already at work in their own schools and communities. Since its inception, more than 62,000 of today’s youth have participated in the competition, proving themselves as “Agents of Change” in their own communities. Under the guidance of a teacher or mentor, students were tasked with identifying an environmental issue in their community, and creating a replicable green solution using web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education.
The Challenge is comprised of four groups—elementary school (grades K–2 and 3–5), middle school and high school. High school teams compete for $50,000 in scholarship money to divide among team members and a chance to present their project at a prestigious event. Middle school teams compete for $10,000 savings bonds and a trip to Alaska. Elementary school students have the opportunity to win a Discovery Education assembly for their school and classroom grants. In addition to several other prizes, all state finalists also receive a green prize pack for each team member.
As a result of the Challenge, past students have been able to change their schools’ policies, open up their neighborhoods to new ideas and even inspired politicians to craft green legislation on both the state and national level.
Last year’s high school winners, team “T.E.A.M.S” from West Branch, Iowa, conducted an energy audit on its own school and made updates to reduce energy consumption. It is now working with legislators to craft a bill that encourages energy audits of all public buildings. Last year’s middle school grand prize winner, team “6000 n 60” from Kapaau, Hawaii, pushed forward a household battery recycling effort to collect 6,000 batteries in 60 days to raise awareness of proper battery disposal. Their efforts have inspired local legislators to create and introduce and battery recycling bill.
This year’s finalists’ projects include: developing a new method to detect detergent contamination in water, educating peers on the environmental effects associated with using disposable water bottles and creating a way to harness energy through electromagnetic inductance.
As part of a rigorous three-part judging process, a panel of environmental advocates, science teachers and professors selected this year’s finalists based on the project’s ability to creatively present a viable solution and engage their communities. National winners will be announced on May 23, 2012.
“Every year, some of the nation’s brightest students amaze us with their ingenuity,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. “Since its inception, the Challenge has always been about finding tomorrow’s environmental leaders where they are right now—right within our schools. The Siemens Foundation and its partners are proud to honor these students and their mentors for their commitment to noticeable environmental change.”
For more information on the Challenge, the state finalists and their projects, visit www.wecanchange.com.
About Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge
The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge (www.wecanchange.com ) is a premier national sustainability challenge that 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 62,000 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 Education transforms classrooms, empowers teachers and captivates students by providing high quality, dynamic, digital content for grades K–12 and community colleges. Powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital media, professional development, assessment tools and a passionate educator network to support districts in accelerating student achievement. Discovery Education services like Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education Techbook and Discovery Education Higher Ed, are in more than half of all US schools and 35 countries around the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
Lauren Espin for Siemens Foundation
Alana Carchedi, Discovery Education