Samsung named 300 public schools as state finalists in the 14th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition – including Harwood Union and five other Vermont schools. Each state finalist will win a package of $2,500 in technology and classroom school supplies as a milestone in their journey to become one of three national winners, each of whom will receive $100,000 for their schools.
Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is a nationwide competition designed to empower students in grades 6-12 to leverage the power of STEM to create innovative solutions addressing critical issues in their local communities. The competition engages U.S. Gen Z students to catalyze change by applying Problem-based Learning (PBL) principles, environmental stewardship, and entrepreneurship to address some of society's most pressing challenges. It also promotes active, hands-on learning, making STEM more tangible and showcasing its real-world applications.
Notably, 50% of the state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition are Title 1 schools, underscoring the program's commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunity. Reflecting Gen Z’s collective dedication to tackling pressing global challenges, 45% of the projects directly address issues related to the climate crisis, such as extreme weather like wildfires, hurricanes, and heat; microplastic pollution; air and water quality; the pollinator collapse; e-waste (electronic waste) risks; and light pollution. What’s more, this cohort of students are actively developing innovative solutions for a spectrum of other pressing societal issues, including accessibility, mental health matters like student anxiety and loneliness, food insecurity, cybersecurity, and aid for the unhoused and migrants.
Showcasing a forward-looking approach to problem-solving, 25% of the student STEM-based solutions embrace the use of emerging technologies, such as AI, 3D printing, and robotics. Moreover, a number of the entries exhibit promising elements of entrepreneurship, highlighting the students' innovative thinking and potential for building impactful solutions that endure beyond the competition.
For the next phase of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, teachers must create a focused activity plan. This plan outlines how their students will execute their STEM project, including defining the problem, proposing a STEM-based solution, specifying project objectives, detailing activities to reach anticipated goals, and articulating the expected improvement within their local community resulting from the project's successful implementation. The activity plans are due Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Following the submission of activity plans, judges will select state winners with the winners set to be revealed in late January 2024.
Fifty state winners will receive a Samsung Video Kit to assist in the development of their “STEM solution pitch video,” as well as $12,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies.
One of the 50 state winner schools will be recognized as visionaries for driving sustainable change through STEM innovation with a sustainability innovation award, and an additional $50,000 prize package. One state winner will be selected for the new Rising Entrepreneurship Award, receiving a $25,000 prize package to foster the development of a scalable, sustainable venture that extend beyond the competition.
Then 10 national finalist schools will participate in a live pitch event where they will present their project to a panel of judges. Seven of these schools will be awarded $50,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies. Later judges will name three national winners, each of whom earns a prize package worth $100,000.
In addition to Harwood Union the following schools were selected:
Brattleboro Area Middle School
Fair Haven Union Middle and High School
Hazen Union High School
Mt. Anthony Union Middle School
Rutland High School