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Team from Metz Selected as State Finalist in STEM Competition

December 16, 2022 – A team of students from Metz Middle School has been named one of 300 state finalists in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, earning them a $2,500 prize package for their school, including Samsung products and classroom resources to complete their activity plan submission. The team now moves on to the next phase of the competition.

Solve for Tomorrow is a national competition that challenges public school students in grades 6-12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition engages students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems – making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.

Carey Hancey, a science teacher at Metz, serves as the team sponsor. To enter the competition, she tasked seventh and eighth grade students in her Integrated Math and Science (IMS) Research class to develop a solution to a problem impacting the community. The group of students developed a proposal for an automated, movable robot with solar panels that aid in the growth of sustainable gardens using renewable energy.

“The purpose of this robot is to motion the oversized solar panel to go to areas within a garden experiencing increased heat, as detected by an infrared sensor,” explained Hancey. “The oversized solar panel will canopy the plants to protect them from high heat.  The resulting transpiration from the plants will be collected on the underside of the solar panel, thereby cooling the solar panel while preventing water vapor, a greenhouse gas, from escaping into the atmosphere.”

Hancey said she is proud of her students for competing at such a high level. Metz is one of only two middle schools in Virginia to be named a state finalist.

State finalists must now submit activity plans detailing how their proposed STEM project will address the identified community issue. Fifty teams from across the state will be chosen as state winners, increasing the amount of prize money to $12,000. The top three schools will earn the national prize package of $100,000.