5 Innovative Ideas by School Students to Solve Local Challenges

What happens when you ask school students to come up with creative solutions to real-life issues affecting their communities? You get Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, a contest run by our Samsung Electronics affiliate to encourage student participation in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The contest, which has been running in the U.S. since 2010, engages the next generation of engineers, scientists and mathematicians to find innovative solutions to local challenges. It’s also an opportunity to help level the technology playing field for public schools throughout America thanks to donations of Samsung IT products and financial support for STEM education programs.



Last month saw the 2015 winners announced with schools from California, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington each receiving $138,000 in technology and cash for STEM education. In total, this year’s contest attracted participants from 3,100 schools with $2 million in prizes donated.

Here’s a quick look at the five winning projects. To read more, please visit the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow site.


1. A Delicious Way to Recycle

school1Students of Hudson’s Bay High School in Washington were looking for a solution to the high cost of recycling paper waste and came up with the idea of making waste profitable through the process of mycoremediation to grow mushrooms.

This allowed the students to produce a tangible result from their recycling efforts and even generate revenue. The students are continuing  track and monitor the data of their work and research.



2. Don’t Waste a Drop

school2.2Facing severe droughts, Santa Clara County in California imposed a 20% reduction in water consumption. This prompted students at Downtown College Prep in San Jose, to look for a plan to help their community achieve these water usage reductions.

Their solution was to create and install a gray water system as well as a rain water storage system in a local home with the ultimate goal of helping the entire community use less water.



3. Wheelchair Innovations

school3Strength and motor skill disabilities can make even daily tasks seem virtually impossible. That’s why students of Galena High School in Reno, Nevada, were inspired to help find solutions to the difficulties faced by their fellow students who live with such disabilities.

Using their STEM education, the students are creating adaptive equipment to make life easier for two of their classmates in wheelchairs, with a range of prototypes being created.



4.  Vertical Veggies

school4.1Fresh fruit and vegetables are limited resources in many communities, particularly in urban neighborhoods where there’s limited ability to grow gardens to counter food shortages.

So students at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy in Erie, Pennsylvania, are engineering a way to grow their own fresh produce through vertical gardens which take up less space than traditional gardens, making them more practical for urban environments.



5. Robotic Drain Expedition

school5.2Flooding is a source of many problems within the community surrounding Nicholson Elementary School in Picayune, Mississippi. But inspecting the drainage system which causes these issues is no easy task.

Teaming up with a high school robotics team, these elementary school students created a working prototype which can navigate the local water drainage systems to discover flaws and suggest changes to city planners for improved flood water control.


Lesson plans created by educators involved in previous years’ Samsung Solve for Tomorrow projects are available for download through the following link.