TFS High School STEM Team Wins $5K at WWT Competition
The Fulton School’s high school STEM team placed second in World Wide Technology’s annual STEM Student Form with their “SmartBin” project, earning them a $5,000 prize.
World Wide Technology (WWT) is a leading global technology solutions provider based in St. Louis. This was their 8th year hosting this student competition, an initiative dedicated to educating high school students on the importance of Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) disciplines and the opportunities they present. The competition itself focuses on how schools can use education and technology to create a more sustainable future.
Local high schools are invited to create a team of up to 10 students; each team has 6 weeks to work on their project with the help of a professional mentor from WWT. This year, working under the theme “Making a New World Happen,” students were charged with the task of developing solutions that use technology to solve problems in their school or community.
Fulton School junior, Coen Key, explains, “We were invited from World Wide Technology to solve a problem: How can schools use education and technology to create a more sustainable future? Our group at TFS came to the conclusion that our school produces too much waste. To solve this problem, we created a “SmartBin” – a bin on a scale that first weighs what is collected then sends that data to a server with a graph that changes as soon as the weight on the scale changes. We can analyze this data right as it is collected to see how much waste we are producing and come up with ways to reduce it. Our end goal would be to reduce the amount of waste produced throughout the school by implementing trash, recycling, and compost bins into as many parts of our school as possible.”
The 8-member team worked together on the SmarBin, coding, designing, and creating their containers, scale, and data program in the school’s Makerspace Lab with math/science teachers Dr. Lensyl Urbano and Mr. Skyler Mitchell. As part of their project, they also conducted interviews with Lower School students, Upper School students, teachers and administrators to gain their insight on the proposed project.
This year's competition included 21 local high schools with 177 participating students. More than 60 volunteers contributed more than 700 hours, including 33 WWT mentors, both in-person and virtually.
All teams presented their projects at the student form competition in March at the WWT campus. The team from The Fulton School finished second, receiving a $5,000 cash prize.
Dr. Lensyl Urbano commented, “One of the judges mentioned that they really liked that the high schoolers involved the elementary-age students in their project. We were very excited to place second amid such a fantastic group of teams from around St. Louis. The competition was impressive.”
The local high schools that participated this year included:
- Althoff Catholic High School
- Christian Brothers College High School (1st Place)
- Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience
- Hazelwood West High School
- John Burroughs School
- Lindbergh High School
- Metro Academic and Classical High School
- Nerinx Hall High School (5th Place)
- Oakville High School
- Parkway SPARK! Incubator (3rd Place)
- Parkway West High School
- Pattonville High School (4th Place)
- Rockwood Summit High School
- SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School
- South Technical High School
- St. John Vianney High School
- STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley High School
- Sumner High School
- Troy Buchanan High School
- Whitfield School
The TFS team included Coen Key, Blas Urbano, John Schenk, Julian Tockman, Lily Leonard, Ben Hoskins, Maya C. and Hali C.
And what will they do with the money? The students will use the majority of the money to purchase supplies and equipment to implement and expand the SmartBin project, like a batch of wireless microcontrollers to develop the sensor network.
Of special note, TFS still uses the previous builds from past WWT competitions, like the MakerSpace Kiosk created for the 2020 competition (they took 3rd place). The kiosk allows students to purchase in-house materials for Makerspace projects and also keeps track of inventory. In 2022, the group created a TFS Community Tile Art Project that brings coding, art, and community together in one brilliant display.