By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Fifteen local middle schoolers are looking to ace a national competition.
The only way to pass The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest is by finding a solution to a community problem using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
For the computer science students at Sisters Middle School…that problem is car wrecks due to icy roads.
Their solution, creating a road sign that detects and warns drivers of these dangerous conditions
“I think it’ll be pretty helpful. Specifically when people are like driving in somewhat dark or there’s black ice and you can’t see it,” said Holly Madron. “Then you know “hey there’s black ice” and then you can dodge it I guess, or go slowly.”
The class is one 300 finalists nationwide, and one of five schools from Oregon.
They’re all taking on what many students would consider a not-so-average assignment.
“Much rather work on this than take a test on paper because this is way more interactive, and you actually have to work on it and put the physical pieces together, and you don’t just write something down on a piece of paper,” said Bligh Morgan.
Students, alongside their teacher Jeff Schiedler, are currently doing research, ordering parts, and making plans to create a working road sign.
The next step is to create a prototype one that could possibly make a big difference.
“I think drivers could really impact from having that reminder about ‘hey we’re about to go around a dangerous corner and the conditions right now could be icy,'” Schiedler said. “So it could potentially have a lot of impact.”
Five grand prize national winners will receive $100,000 in technology and classroom materials.
They will also travel to Washington D.C. to present their projects to members of Congress.
Schiedler says the only thing more valuable than first prize is what students are learning along the way.
“As of now it’s a really really cool project in the sense that they all have to be in communication to make sure this is going to work,” he said.