Two Oakville Middle School proposals are picked as state finalists in contest

Two Oakville Middle School proposals are picked as state finalists in contest

Above, Kevin Roper, executive director of the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, discusses bees with Oakville Middle School students Carlos Simmons, right, and Bryan Brennan. Two of the middle school’s proposals have been selected as state finalists in the 2017-2018 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.

Two different Oakville Middle School proposals have been selected as state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow’s 2017-2018 contest.
Out of 3,000 applications, just five were chosen as state finalists.
The contest requires students to use STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — activities to solve community problems. The competition winner will receive video equipment and a computer.
The first state finalist from Oakville Middle focuses on bees. Due to the use of pesticides and other environmental factors, the bee population here and across the country is struggling, according to a district news release.
Students in Becky Brophy’s Green Architecture class will research the biology of bees, decide which kind is best suited to the Midwest climate and then build a hive where the bee population can grow.
A local beekeeper will lend her expertise to the project.
“My students will use a computer to design the beehive,” Brophy stated in the release. “We are going to put the beehive on school property in a place that is safe for the bees and for the students.
“We hope to harvest the honey, sell it and use the profits to fund technology at Oakville Middle.”
The second Oakville Middle School project is called Agents of Change and gives students an opportunity to make the community a better place to live. Teachers Hannah Johnson, Heather Muessig and Sarah Polanc are the driving force behind the project.
Johnson stated, “We issued a challenge to our students: How can we use our communication skills such as reading, writing, speaking and listening to collaborate to think critically about world problems and to come up with creative solutions?”
The teachers divided their students into 31 different groups, and each group identified an area of concern. Representatives from civic and social service organizations are participating as experts in the selected problem areas. Organizations include the American Red Cross, the St. Louis Food Bank, the Humane Society, Epworth Center, Paraquad, Megan Meier Foundation, the St. Louis Zoo and Chad’s Coalition.
Students will work on their projects throughout the year.
If the experts like what they see and hear, the plans could be put into action.
Last year, the Agents of Change project resulted in more than $1,000 donated to various charities, 43 donated bikes that were rehabbed, nearly 500 cans of food that were given to local food banks and coordinating a tool donation from Home Depot to Habitat For Humanity.
“It’s exciting to see our students collaborating with other classrooms and community partners to create something that makes a difference in our world,” Polanc stated. “This project is an experience that goes beyond earning a grade. It’s about a journey of failures, successes, reflections, revisions and a celebration of giving back to our community.”