Working from home is difficult. However, one could argue that students have it a lot harder. Trying to learn and engage with content virtually can be extremely challenging—especially for those who don’t have experience with remote work. Obviously, not many K-12 students do.
To help keep students engaged while learning from afar, Samsung is launching its 11th annual Solve for Tomorrow Contest. It challenges students and their teachers to use STEM concepts to address issues that are important to them in order to create real-world change.
Calling All Visionaries
Problem-based learning is one of the best ways to engage students with content. Unfortunately, it can be hard to do remotely—especially for students that need hands-on education. Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow program utilizes both problem-based and hands-on learning to encourage students to use their innovative ideas for good.
They will have the opportunity to address everything from climate change to mental health and sustainability to wildfire safety.
Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics America, says, “Teachers are the backbone of our education system and Samsung recognizes the challenges that today’s educators are facing. We are in awe of the resiliency of teachers and students who have adapted to a new learning environment, and we remain focused on encouraging unique ways for students to engage in hands-on STEM learning all across the country.”
The Solve for Tomorrow contest is accompanied by $2 million in prizes that help provide technology and classroom supplies.
The program selects up to 100 semi-finalists who are awarded $10,000 each. From those, a group of 10 national finalist schools is chosen for a virtual pitch event. Students and teachers will present their projects to a panel of judges. Those who reach this stage are awarded $50,000 in technology and supplies.
Finally, three schools are chosen as national grand prize winners. Each receives $100,000 in tech and supplies.
Helping Teachers Help Students
To equip teachers with the resources they need to help students be successful in the Solving for the Future contest, Samsung has organized two professional development opportunities. It is partnering with mindSpark Learning to offer the training.
One course, “Problem-Based Learning,” will equip teachers with frameworks and methodologies of project-based learning and give them an intro on how to submit Solve for Tomorrow projects virtually.
This is a great opportunity not only for students but also for educators who are passionate about STEM. Susan Flentie, a member of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Teachers Academy, says, “For seven years, participating in Solve for Tomorrow has helped expose my students to problem-based learning and demonstrate how STEM education can be applied to solve real, pressing issues. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow has become a cornerstone of my annual curriculum.”
She adds, “I am thankful for the resources and opportunities that this contest will now offer in the virtual environment, and I look forward to exploring the professional development resources as I enter the contest again this year.”