Environmental Protection

Change the World Challenge Includes High School Students

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) kicked off the third annual Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a program that educates, empowers and engages students and teachers nationwide to become agents of change in identifying and solving environmental problems.

The third year of this national sustainability challenge ─ now expanded to include high school students ─ encourages all students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, to team up with their classmates to create replicable solutions to environmental issues in their schools (grades K-5), community (grades 6-8) and world (grades 9-12).

"The [Challenge] inspires our nation's students to become stewards of our planet through scientific exploration," said Siemens Foundation President Jeniffer Harper-Taylor. "We have been incredibly impressed by the scope and impact of the projects completed over the past two years and are looking forward to even more extraordinary solutions this year as we open the Challenge to high school students."

More than 13,000 students competed in the 2010 Challenge across elementary and middle school grades. Projects ranged from reducing lunchtime waste to saving local trees and encouraging eco-friendly gardens. The grand prize team, "No1Idling" from Novi, Mich., focused on reducing community pollution by raising awareness about the environmental impact of vehicle idling among area drivers.

Teachers, students and mentors can log on to www.wecanchange.com to register for the Challenge. Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level, include savings bonds, school grants, exciting trips and much more. Fostering learning, team work and problem solving around sustainability, the website offers robust resource guides, lesson plans and teacher materials to accompany each stage of the challenge. These materials are created by Discovery Education, the division of Discovery Communications providing scientifically proven, standards-based digital content and resources to classrooms nationwide, and the NSTA, the largest science teacher organization in the world dedicated to improving science education and increasing student learning by engaging all teachers of science.

A panel of environmental experts, science educators and the College Board (high school) will judge teams on both their ability to create a positive, measurable solution to a local sustainability issue or challenge using scientific methodology and their ability to explain how the solution can be replicated by other communities.

The deadline for all entries is March 15, 2011. Finalists and winners will be announced in April 2011 and the national winners will be announced in May 2011.

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