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Community-Based STEM Projects Win National Recognition

Student and teacher winners of a national science, technology, engineering, and math contest, honored today in Washington, set out to solve community-based problems, including figuring out how to prevent garbage from entering local waterways and evaluating students' walking routes for safety. 

The five classrooms that won the Solve for Tomorrow contest—one of which was selected by online voting; another by employees of Samsung, the consumer-electronics company sponsoring the contest; and the final three by a panel of judges—each received $140,000 in technology grants. 

More than 2,300 schools from across the country entered the competition by writing essays about how STEM could help their communities. In March, 15 finalists presented their projects at the South by Southwest education conference

In the video below, students at the Oliver Street School in Newark, N.J., among the five winners, describe their project on trapping sewage before it contaminates the waterways.  

The other winners were:

G.W. Carver Middle School in Miami, Fla., for conducting soil testing at the site of a previous garbage incinerator;

• Sunburst Jr. High School in Sunburst, Mont., for working to stop alkali, a salt, from causing hazardous conditions on a highway; 

• Academy at Palumbo in Philadelphia for mapping the safest routes for students to use when walking to school;  

• East Valley High School in Yakima, Wash., for finding ways to reduce the amount of energy needed to cool homes during the summer. 

In other STEM-contest news, the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) just announced that 4th through 12th grade teachers can now apply for the Rosenthal Prize for Innovation in Math Teaching—a $25,000 award for a creative, hands-on, original math lesson. The 2012 winner, Scott Goldthorp, wrote a lesson plan combining finger painting, jumping, and data analysis, which you can find here. (The 2013 winner's plan is not available on the website.).

Applications for the new round are due by May 9. 

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