What was your favorite subject in high school?
While math or science may have topped the list for some of you, many of us probably don’t have too much fond memory of memorizing dull math formulas or the periodic table. Perhaps the frustration came largely from the fact those subjects are so utterly detached from our daily lives.
The experience could have been quite different, though, if you were asked to work on the following question: “How can science or math help improve the environment in your community?”
Actually, this was the topic that students from more than 1,100 schools across the United States wrestled with for the past six months under the “Samsung Solve for Tomorrow” contest.
The competition is part of Samsung’s Hope for Children initiative and aims to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Grammy award winner and Show Me Campaign founder John Legend has partnered with Samsung on the contest.
The participants – students working with their teachers – looked into environmental problems in their communities and came up with ways to learn more about those issues and respond to them, using mathematics and science. Those shortlisted created video illustrating their ideas and findings, ranging from analyzing water from the local system to measurements of greenhouse gases and an investigation into global warming-induced beetle outbreaks.
“The creativity and the smart application of math and science in these students’ project entries were truly inspirational,” said David Steel, executive vice president of Strategy and Corporate Communications at Samsung Electronics America.
Of the teams competing for total $1 million in technology awards from Samsung, Microsoft, DirecTV and the Adobe Foundation, five finalists were selected in March, through reviews by expert judges and online voting. And finally, last Friday, Samsung announced the team from West Salem High School in Oregon as the Grand Prize Winner, for the top award of $155,000 in technology prizes.
Watch the winning video:
The most important gain from this contest is that the program helped generate the enthusiasm and excitement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among children, Mr. Steel says. See, the boring classes actually provided the tools that help us think and act for our future!
You can watch a CNN interview with John Legend and David Steel here.