EAST students at Helen Tyson Middle School, Hellstern Middle School, Lakeside Junior High School (Springdale) and Lakeside High School (Hot Springs) were chosen as four of the five state finalists for Samsung's "Solve for Tomorrow" STEM competition. This competition challenges students in the STEM field to compete and create innovative software and hardware to drive the world forward.
Camila Maldanado and Julia Penaflor, Helen Tyson Middle School seventh-graders, submitted the Smart Little Free Pantry project into the competition.
“It is very exciting to be recognized for the students' ideas and their work so far,” said Brittany Berry, Helen Tyson Middle School EAST facilitator.
The pantry project has two parts, Berry said. The project initially requires retrofitting the pantry to be a "smart" community tool, which will require adding as many as three students to the project team.
“We are also hoping to have a WIFI camera that allows anyone to see what is in it at any time,” she said.
The second part of the project is to create an app that gives people access to the camera stream, as well as the ability to share what they’re putting in the pantry for those in need, Berry said.
“We want to build a community around these resource points and make them more effective and efficient for people to use,” she said.
Ninth graders Katelyn Spurlock, Guadalupe Granados and Zane Turner of Lakeside Junior High School created a project to prevent flooding through data, said Jamie Stallings, Lakeside EAST facilitator.
“We are creating sensors to gather data in areas where flash flooding occurs and are hoping to share that data to create an early warning system,” Stallings said. “We hope it makes the community safer.”
Hellstern Middle School students moved forward in the competition with the Try Friends project, created by Townsend Teff, sixth grade, Mallory Ware, seventh grade, and Malachi Cross, sixth grade, Pena said.
The project features an app designed to help students overcome the awkwardness that sometimes occurs when building friendships within a school setting, Pena said.
The app will allow students to ask questions of other school students they’re matched with, she said. Students will then connect in person so the questions can be answered.
“They have studied the effects of not having many friends, as well as the anxiety that comes along with making friends,” Pena said. “This will help that initial saying ‘hi’ to someone new.”
John Stokes, the facilitator at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, shared how his students are trying to protect their local environment.
"Students have reviewed studies and data on the effect of Hypoxia and the effect of the condition on Trees and Wildlife," Stokes said. "High Hypoxia levels result in dissolved oxygen below the level necessary to sustain most animal and plant life. Hypoxia often occurs when high concentrations of nutrients enter the water due to natural flooding but are often the result of human actions."
"The project wishes to evaluate, document, and implement and plan that addresses the composition of our WMA (Wildlife Management Area) Woodlands in Central Arkansas. We are starting with the Cache River. The students wish to collect data on trees such as bald cypress, tupelo, and ash that are adapted to occasional floods and are more resilient to rising water."
"The problem we will be examining stems from the area's floods, the duration, depth, and time of year. Students will be evaluating the damage in the collection to water levels affecting the oxygen levels in these areas to assess existing damage and the ecological impact that stems from tree loss."