December 8, 2017
By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
A team from Siegel Middle School joins two others from Central Magnet to be named among the nation’s 255 state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.
Rutherford County now represents three of the five state finalists from Tennessee.
The program encourages students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
Siegel’s Solve for Tomorrow project, which is designed to take adaptations and natural selection to the next level, involves STEM instructor Katie Harris’ eighth grade class of 40 students.
This past semester, they conducted a field study to test if the location of bird nests affects predation rate of bird eggs.
“Students set up an experiment and placed nests and clay eggs in wooded areas around campus,” Harris explained. “This Solve for Tomorrow project would allow students to design different nests and allow us to test areas around school that have recently been under new construction.
“We will be showing the community how deforestation decreases biodiversity.
“In order to improve the recently destroyed habitats, students will also create a variety of birdhouses,” Harris continued. “Students will then create public service announcements to let the neighborhood know how placing birdhouses in backyards can help our ecosystem.”
If they are selected as the state winner in December, Siegel Middle will receive a $25,000 Samsung technology package.
As a state finalist, Harris will be awarded a Chromebook for her classroom.
State winners will then submit a video of their project in action.
The 10 national finalists will be selected to attend a pitch event, where they will pitch their project to a panel of judges with seven schools receiving a $50,000 Samsung technology package, while the final three schools will progress to the national winner stage.
All three national grand prize winners will receive a $150,000 Samsung technology package.
All of the 10 national finalists will be eligible for the Community Choice Award and an additional $20,000 Samsung technology package based on social media voting.