The We Can Change the World Challenge Winners
"The challenge piqued the kids' imaginations and got them thinking."
Team: Concord Hill Greenies
School: Concord Hill School, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Mentors: Jack Daggitt and Tracy Yaffe
Project: Implemented a parking program to stagger pick-up and drop-off times and reduce the number of cars idling. The second-grade science club at the small, private Concord Hill School decided the traffic jams when parents dropped off the kids were more than a nuisance—they were a health hazard. The team analyzed the problem and found a solution. Their results were so startling that school officials implemented the team's proposed solution and began staggering pick-up and drop-off times in the middle of the school year.
"They learned that lots of people making small changes adds up to big results."
- Jack Daggitt, Project Mentor
Grades 3-5 Winners
"They saw that everyone can make an impact."
School: Barringer Academic Center, Charlotte, North Carolina
Mentors: Mindy Passe and Rachel Herring
Project: Reduced paper waste in their school, increased awareness of the recycling program and encouraged teachers to use recycled paper for homework projects and tests. This team implemented a promotional campaign that brought awareness to their school's existing recycling program and identified numerous opportunities for changing recycling habits among students and teachers.
"I loved that it was studentcentered. It fit in with my educational philosophy of letting the students take the lead. It appealed to me and I knew it would appeal to the kids."
- Mindy Passe, Project Mentor
"People were saying how impressed they were with these kids."
Team: 6000 n 60
School: Kohala Middle School, Kapaau, Hawaii
Mentor: Lani Bowman
Project: Developed "6000 n 60," a household battery recycling effort to collect 6,000 batteries in 60 days; implemented a promotional campaign to bring awareness to the project and engaged the entire community in their efforts. In Kapaau, Hawaii, the rural area where students Isabel Steinhoff, Rico Bowman, Genevieve Boyle and Mina Apostadiro live, people must drive 20 miles to recycle. To resolve this issue, the team started a campaign to encourage the community to recycle batteries, placing bins at various locations, creating flyers and a promotional video and presenting to local businesses. The team's efforts paid off - they collected 7,000 batteries during the campaign and engaged not just the school, but the whole community.
"The entire island got enthused."
- Lani Bowman, Project Mentor
Grades 9-12 Winners
The students learned that they have a voice and people will listen to them."
School: West Branch High School, West Branch, Iowa
Mentor: Hector Ibarra
Project: Conducted an energy audit of their school, identified enhancements that would reduce energy consumption adding up to nearly $30,000 in energy savings and increased awareness of energy efficiency. High school students David Fischer, Justin Roth and Sarah Fischer, members of the West Branch High School science club, conducted an energy audit of their school after noticing varying temperatures across rooms and other indications of energy waste. The team proposed various improvements to significantly increase energy efficiency within the building, many of which were adopted by the school.
"The contest gave them the impetus to discover what was going on in their own school."
- Hector Ibarra, Project Mentor
For more information about the challenge and an interview with a winning district, Click here.