State Finalists Named in Middle School Green Challenge


The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Discovery, and the Siemens Foundation have announced the state finalists in the "Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge." The initiative called on K-12 students to develop green solutions for their schools, homes, and communities.

The competition challenged middle school 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 students worked in teams and competed with other students across the United States. More than 2,000 students participated in the inaugural challenge.

The state finalists will each receive an "eco-friendly prize pack," including various sustainable supplies and equipment, such as recycled computer gear, a solar charger, a recycled messenger bag, and other prizes. Finalist team advisors will also receive a one-year membership to the NSTA and a one-year subscription to the science resource service Discovery Education Science.

A list of the state finalists can be found here.

Later this month, two winning national teams will be named from the state finalists, along with a grand prize winner. Prizes will include travel, savings bonds, and teacher education resources. The grand prize team will also appear on Discovery's Planet Green network and will be able to go on a Discovery Adventure Trip.

The program, in addition to providing prizes for winning teams, aims to introduce students to concepts in sustainability, educate students on environmental issues, build up STEM skills, and connect students with scientists to tackle environmental challenges through real-world projects.

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 challenge will expand to the elementary and kindergarten levels in 2009 and to high schools in 2010. Further information can be found here.

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 .