Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Design Competition

Goshen High School is one of 5 state finalists in the Indiana Samsung Solve for Tomorrow design competition, with their sediment pollution project. A huge thanks to Jason Kauffman and Goshen City for providing GHS with the design challenge and helping with resources. The next phase of the competition involves GHS Engineering and Design teacher Jen Yoder submitting the project plan, which she worked on over the weekend. This is a competitive challenge (they applied last year, but didn’t make the cut) so it is a huge honor to be selected to move on to the next phase. The 5 state finalists for Indiana are: Goshen H.S., Penn H.S., South Adams M.S., South Decatur Jr/Sr High, and Center for Inquiry-IPS2 – which is some pretty tough engineering competition. 

There is information below on prize packages and timelines. This is a totally new area for GHS, Mrs. Yoder, and her students – which is why Mrs. Yoder spent Thanksgiving break researching sediment pollution! She stated, “I’m excited to tackle this and am extremely grateful for the help that has been offered to me from the city.”

Phase One: Entry submission – How can STEM be applied to address a local community challenge/issue?

  • 5 finalists per state
  • Prize package: Samsung Tablet ($329 value)
  • 50% match from Samsung through donorschoose, up to $200. Mrs. Yoder will be submitting donorschoose materials soon. If we raise $400, Samsung will add an additional $200, making the total package worth $600. Watch for updates coming soon!

Phase Two: Teacher Activity Plan for the project due December 10.

  • State winners chosen
  • Prize package: Samsung Video Kit ($1500 value) for next phase.
  • 40 state winners receive $20,000 prize package for equipment

Phase Three: 3 minute video demonstrating how STEM can be applied to help improve their local community through this project. Due February 15.

  • 10 national finalists
  • Prize package: Trip for 4 to attend the Pitch/National Finalist Event

Phase Four: Social Media Voting (March 5-27)

  • 1 Community Choice Award
  • Prize package: $10,000 for equipment

Final Phase: National Pitch Event in April where students pitch their solutions to a panel of judges

  • 7 National Finalists will receive $50,000 for equipment
  • 3 National Grand Prizes will receive $100,000 for equipment

From the Goshen High School Samsung Solve for Tomorrow project plan:

What is the most difficult challenge or issue faced by your school community? Instead of focusing on technology or funding that your school may need, please identify a specific problem that your school or the community is impacted by. You will lead your students to come up with a solution using STEM. For winning project ideas from past years, visit

(1000 characters maximum)
Sediment is the number one pollutant in our local waterways, which comes from farm fields, construction sites, and urban yards. One source of sediment is from construction projects that lack a proper construction entrance/exit. Currently, the construction industry tends to use a construction drive constructed of #2 stone underlain with geotextile fabric. Unfortunately, these construction drives are not always installed correctly and can fail quickly. Sediment quickly accumulates in storm water runoff and eventually makes its way to our waterways. There are some existing ways to cause the sediment to “fall” out of storm water runoff by mixing in polyacrylamides (PAMS), but there is currently no effective and/or efficient way to add PAMS to sediment laden runoff without taking up a great deal of space. Sediment pollution creates a problem for our community from the runoff origination all the way to when it enters our waterways.

How can STEM be applied to address this issue? We understand that you might not have the full solution right now or that your students may come up with a new solution later. We are looking for your overall project vision at this point.

(1000 characters maximum)
It will take the full spectrum of STEM to solve a problem such as sediment pollution. Students will evaluate current methods, applying the fault finding process, to determine and prioritize the parameters of the problem. This will include scientific and mathematical applications as they relate to current practices and proposed solutions. The chemical compounds involved in PAMS deployment and contamination removal will introduce advanced science principals, while ratios for proper deployment will utilize math skills. The engineering design loop will be utilized continuously as students research, brainstorm, and develop solutions, or improvements to current practices. Development and use of necessary technology to carry out solutions will be key as well. Additionally, students will work collaboratively with each other, staff, community members and our city engineers. Working in a group setting to solve a problem is a lifelong skill that everyone benefits from.

What is the biggest hurdle your students face in the classroom that hinders their academic achievement?

(1000 characters maximum)
In a recent survey conducted with engineering students at our school, they stated the number one hurdle that hinders their achievement in the classroom is the amount of standardized testing they are mandated to participate in throughout the year. Testing frequently disrupts the schedule during the day taking time away from classes. They stated that classes in tested areas are very focused on test-taking skills and specific content, which takes away from opportunities of project-based learning. Elective classes, such as engineering and technology, are able to offer creative project-based learning experiences, but they are hindered by the lack of funding for updated equipment. Equipment is needed for prototyping and producing designs that truly display all of the details of the students’ chosen solution for effective test results and data for improvements. Although there is not much that can be done regarding state tests, this challenge may offer opportunities to address equipment needs.