CORNING - Seventh-grade students at the Alternative School for Math and Science recently won first and second place in a web-based competition to identify a community problem and use scientific practices or engineering design to develop a solution.
Two prizes were awarded to students in each state in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics competition that is sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program administered by the National Science Teachers Association.
The first place team of students Jack Gianocia, Alex Yeater and Joshua White created a street lamp shade, Night Sky View, that reduces light pollution by 78 percent while maintaining full brightness on the road.
The inexpensive and energy efficient shade can be easily installed on existing streetlamps to reduce the light pollution in backyards, allowing city resident to enjoy a clearer night skyview.
“What we did is we were trying to come up with a contraption that would reduce light pollution, one of the biggest light pollution problems is street lamps,” Yeater said. “We thought if we can make a contraption, such like this, it would hook onto a streetlamp it would focus the light onto the roads and this reduces spill over into peoples yards.”
Students Giaconia and White said creating the Night Sky View was a lot of fun.
“It was pretty cool,” Giaconia said. “I'm really glad we did this, and all worked together.”
White said he learned a lot about light pollution by doing this project and how big of a problem light pollution really is.
The second place team of students Tom Daniels, Ula Fu, Hazel Teague-Gustine and Cohle Whitehouse created a school playground that generates electricity as the student play on it. The playground contains a merry-go-round, roller slides, and swings that all convert the energy of motion into electric current that will be stored for later use by the school.
The playground also contains a leapfrog trampoline walkway that utilizes piezoelectric crystals to generate electric current in response to the applied mechanical stress of jumping children. The energy gained by the playground will decrease the school’s overall energy cost.
Fu said it was fun to work together to create the school playground.
“We designed our own playground, and we learned a lot,” Fu said.
“It was really fun to work together and to design our own playground,” Teague-Gustina said.
Kim Frock, Administrative Head of School at Alternative School for Math & Science, said ASMS students invested a significant amount of time outside of school hours to participate in a national STEM contest.
Patricia Killian, ASMS 7th grade science teacher, coached and mentored all ASMS teams.
“The students had some really spectacularly, cleaver projects,” Frock said.