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Gering students to build 2 projects for national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest

September 16, 2018

GERING — Solving the problems of tomorrow today is what Gering High School students are focused on.

Teacher Justin Reinmuth and his students have selected two projects for this year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.

The students are targeting projects that are water-based and involve reverse-engineering eye tracking software. The beginning engineering students selected the water project as their project.

The other project uses eye tracking software. While traditional eye tracking software is used to record a person’s pupils as he reads something on a screen, Reinmuth said that is not how they will use it.

“We’re hacking it,” he said. “We can put our own device in it and bypass sending the information there to what we want it to be sent to.”

Between Reinmuth’s three classes, there will be 67 students working on the project. To start off, every class will be challenged with a task. They will then take the most refined project and divide students into groups that highlights their strengths.

“Each team will do their part,” Reinmuth said. “We will have a build team, a programming team, and an engineering team, so students are separated into their strengths.”

In the past, the students completed a plastics and drone projects for the contest.

Applications for the contest opened on Thursday, Sept. 6 and Reinmuth completed the application while his students worked on a robotics project. The application deadline is set for Oct. 30.

Samsung’s $2 million Solve for Tomorrow contest challenges students to solve issues in society using STEM.

According to the contest’s official rules, the contest is open to students in grades 6-12 enrolled in public middle school, junior high school, high school and charter schools that are 50 percent or more publicly funded.

The contest includes four phases.

Phase one involves entry submission where the school answers what is the biggest challenge or issue faced by a school community, how can STEM be applied to address this challenge or issue, and what is the biggest hurdle students face in the classroom that hinders their academic achievement? State finalists will be announced based on the problem clarity, community impact and application of STEM. Those finalists will receive a prize package worth $329.99.

In phase two, the state finalists will complete a teacher activity plan. The plan outlines how the students will execute the project and requires them to create a video showing how STEM can be applied to help improve their community. The phase two state winners will receive a Samsung video kit, valued around $1,500.

In phase three, students must produce and submit a video demonstrating how STEM can address the issue raised in their activity plan submitted in phase two by using an activity or topic. The judges will select 10 national finalists who will advance to the final phase of the contest.

Phase four allows the public to vote for the community choice winner. The public voting process will begin in March. The 10 national finalists’ school representative and students will come together to pitch their video and concept to a panel of judges.

“They do a whole ‘Shark Tank’ event and you only have so many minutes to pitch your idea,” said Reinmuth.

The national winner will be the entry with the highest judges score after the final judging.

Reinmuth said, “Like every year, we bite off more than we can chew a lot of times, but that’s the fun of it.”

lauren.brant@starherald.com

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