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Alabama School of Math and Science Among the 300 State Finalists in the National Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM Competition

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ASMS has been named one of 300 State Finalists in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, receiving a $2,500 prize package. Solve for Tomorrow is a national competition that challenges U.S. public school students in grades 6-12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition engages students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems – making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.

Led by their faculty mentor, Dr. Rebecca Domangue, three students in the ASMS Biological Research class – senior Destiny Buchanan and juniors Pariz Lumpkin & Hakeem Menifee – selected the following challenge / issue to tackle: Solving Pollution Problems One Project at a Time

The students state, “Conversations about the environment have become more prevalent over the years. To understand the effects that humans may have on our planet, students in the Biological Research Class at The Alabama School of Mathematics and Science are working to expand our knowledge of the environment and what can be done to protect it.”

Here are the three projects the students are currently investigating:

  1. Creating glowing Vesicularia dubyana through absorption of Green Fluorescent Proteins
  2. Heavy Metal Toxicity in Arabidopsis thaliana
  3. Measuring the Effects of Microplastics on Rhodactis indonensis

Project deliverables include understanding the genetics of gene transfer to create glowing plants, with a long-term goal of reducing light pollution in cities; understanding plant resistance to heavy metal toxicity, which has large scale agricultural relevance; and lastly, successfully understanding soft coral’s ability to ingest microplastics, helping to understand the larger global plastic pollution problem.

The Biological Research class (BL400) at Alabama School of Mathematics and Science gives students an understanding of the fundamentals of biological research and prepares them for a STEM career. Students participate in a biology research project of their own design, under the guidance of ASMS faculty and construct a logical set of experiments to address a biological question. Students learn how to interpret, present, and discuss data from primary literature as part of their prospectus, followed by learning science as a visual language to communicate information in a clear, engaging, and objective fashion for their project defense and science fair poster.

Ultimately, the Solve for Tomorrow competition was designed to boost interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM. STEM skills are key to a 21st century workforce and new approaches in education are vital. Between 2019 and 2029, the number of STEM jobs will grow 8%, a higher rate than non-STEM jobs. (source) National test scores among American school children in math and reading have fallen by the largest margin in 30+ years. (source)

Teachers and students at each of the State Finalist schools for the competition will now be asked to submit lesson plans detailing how their proposed STEM project will address the identified community issue. 50 State Winners will advance to the next phase of the competition and receive $20,000 in technology and supplies, as well as a video kit to help document their project in action. One of the 50 State Winners will be chosen as the Sustainability Innovation Award Winner, receiving an additional $50,000 prize package of eco-conscious classroom technology.

The full list of 300 State Finalists can be found here.

For more information on the competition/competition phases, go here.

  • Dec 16, 2022