DDCUS Becomes Samsung’s “Solve for Tomorrow” Finalist

by Vanessa Caraballo, Staff Writer

DDCUS 6th graders from Ms. Martinez’s science class have become finalists for the Samsung “Solve for Tomorrow” national competition. Ms. Martinez, the head of the Science Department discussed her experience guiding students throughout the competition:

Tell me about the competition. What goal did your students have?

“This is a National STEM competition – a competition where schools in the entire nation need to come up with a solution to a problem in their community while using STEM. So, they have to include the disciples of science, technology, engineering, math, and arts to come up with a solution to resolve a problem in their community. It is a competition. It’s a very tough competition because it is put together by phases. Judges look at all of the projects around the nation, and they select about 2,000. Then, they make another selection. They ask you to create an action plan, then they select 50 which are the state winners. This year we did not get selected, unfortunately, but we still actually won $2,500 for the school.”

How did you prepare your students for the Samsung project? 

“First of all, we talked about the scientific method at the beginning of the school year and before we got selected, I gave the kids requirements. You have to make sure the problem you select is really going to have an impact on the community – that is the main thing.” 

What was the project about?

“This year we worked on trying to solve the saltwater intrusion problem in our Biscayne aquifer. We get 70% of the freshwater here in Miami-Dade County from our Biscayne Avenue aquifer, which is a rock that we have under us. Because we are pulling a bunch of fresh water out, what happens is that the hydronic barrier between salt water and fresh water doesn’t work anymore. The salt water starts to come in and contaminates our fresh water with salt. Our project was to try to find a solution to this problem.”

What was your favorite part of the experience with your students?

“Seeing them succeed, and seeing them happy and excited about the project.”