Middle School Students Shine in National Competition

Twenty-two teams of U.S. middle school students have been named as finalists in the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a national competition encouraging middle school students to team up and make positive environmental changes in their communities.

The teams of two to three 6th through 8th grade students, under the guidance of a teacher or adult supervisor, were asked to identify an environmental issue facing their community, research the issue using a scientific investigation and create a green solution using Discovery Education Web-based tools. The teams chose projects addressing issues such as recycling, water conservation and energy efficiency. A few of the finalists include:

Team Water Wizards.....

Team Water Wizards raised awareness about water conservation in their community, while also raising money for Play Pumps International, a non profit that provides a clean water source to African communities. Photo: wecanchange.com

  • Team Recycle Because You Care – Addision, Ill. Three students from St. Philip the Apostle School saw a need to educate the community on the benefits of recycling, as less than 25 percent of households in their community recycled. They helped their school start a new recycling program, conducted a study on recycling attitudes in their neighborhoods and even presented their results to the Mayor of Addison and on local television.
  • Team Styrofoam Blasters – Corbin, Ky. Three students from Corbin Middle School knew there had to be a more eco-friendly alternative to the Styrofoam trays used by the school cafeteria. The team persuaded the school to purchase a working dishwasher and begin using reusable trays. Their achievements were featured by local newspapers and news channels.
  • Team E-Waste Girls – Levittown, NY. These girls set out to educate their fellow classmates and students about the proper disposal of electronic waste. The girls held an E-Waste event where 2,060 pounds of electronics were collected. The school has committed to holding future E-Waste drives.

A panel of environmental experts and science educators reviewed the projects and selected the finalists. Two national winning teams and one grand prize-winning team will be chosen and announced on May 18th. Prizes include an appearance on Planet Green, savings bonds, various recycled or reusable school supplies, a Discovery Adventure Trip and more.

“We are tremendously proud of all the teams who participated,” says James Whaley, president of Siemens Foundation. “Their innovative ideas and projects bring new awareness and ways for us all to be more eco-friendly in our daily lives.”

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  1. People ask me all the time whether Styrofoam trays are recyclable and there isn’t an easy answer, so I like how the Kentucky students went around this issue entirely by just purchasing reusable trays. This has to be easier than searching for a Styrofoam recycler or worrying about what will happen to it in a landfill.

  2. Author

    Thank you for sharing the video Dawn. Team Recycle Because You Care has done some great work in their community and we commend you!

  3. Author

    Update: Winners of the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge were announced today. Congratulations to grand prize winners “Team Dead Weight,” who raised awareness of the dangers of lead wheel weights in vehicles. Team “Recycle Because You Care” were awarded second place for their community and school recycling awareness programs. The third place team, “Stewards of the Pamlico Sound,” created an artificial oyster reef to restore the oyster population of Pamlico Sound. Congratulations!

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