Environmental Initiative Challenges K-12 Students To Develop Green Solutions


The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has teamed up with Discovery and the Siemens Foundation to launch a new initiative called the "Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge." The initiative calls on K-12 students to develop green solutions for their schools, homes, and communities.

The initiative comprises several components, including introducing students to concepts in sustainability, educating students on environmental issues, building up STEM skills, and, eventually, connecting students with scientists to tackle environmental challenges through real-world projects.

"The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will engage science teachers and allow students the opportunity to think like scientists, learn more about key environmental issues, and to develop critical-thinking skills that will help them to make informed decisions regarding stewardship of the planet," said Gerry Wheeler, executive director of NSTA, in a statement released this week.

Different strategies and components are introduced at each grade level as follows:

  • My Classroom for grades K-2, in which students are introduced to basic concepts;
  • My School for grades 3-5, in which students employ STEM skills to make their schools more green;
  • My Community for grades 6-8, in which students are asked to tackle green issues on the community level; and
  • My World for grades 9-12, in which students are given the chance to connect with scientists to tackle green issues on a global scale.

The We Can Change the World Challenge will launch in September. It will kick off with a middle school competition that challenges students to identify, explore, and research an environmental issue in their community and come up with recommendations for addressing the issue. For the challenge, the middle school students will work in teams and compete with other students across the United States.

The challenge will expand to the elementary and kindergarten levels in 2009 and to high schools in 2010. Organizers are providing state-aligned learning materials for the initiative. The exact nature of awarded to be offered has not been announced.

Further information can be found here.

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About the author:David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .