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PMSA Students Aiming for Piece of $1 Million in Technology

January 11, 2013 08:50 AM
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Forest Park, IL...Proviso Math and Science Academy could win a piece of $1 million in technology, thanks to the efforts of one of its teachers and her students.

Charlette Broxton, a science and research teacher at PMSA, was named a semifinalist in Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Education Contest. In the contest, sixth-grade through twelfth-grade public school teachers were asked to produce a video with their students, "Show how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) can help improve the environment in your community."

Ms. Broxton said that she came across the contest while working on her computer one night, and thinking of a need for computers for students at PMSA, she decided to enter the contest.

"When it came up, I thought, ‘Why not?’" she said. "We could use the computers."

In late November, she learned that she had been named one of 25 semifinalists of more than 1,500 entrants nationally. However, while she received a Samsung laptop computer and camcorder as well as software for a semifinalist prize, she said that the real work is now beginning. Ms. Broxton and her students had to produce a video focusing on how to improve the environment. She decided to ask her students to write proposals focusing on air pollution.

"We know if students have asthma and it’s exacerbated, we’re not going to do well in school," Broxton said.

Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent, said that the additional technology would be useful in improving the education of students at PMSA.

"The new equipment will be beneficial to our mission in teaching students more about using technology in practical situations," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "I am impressed with our teacher for taking the initiative to bring in resources for our students. This is the type of leadership we so desperately need."

The project has been developing throughout the last few weeks. Using STEM principles to analyze air pollution, Ms. Broxton and her students researched ways to improve outdoor air quality in PMSA’s surrounding area. She also has been in contact with the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where graduate students are researching the effects of air pollution on those who bicycle in an urban environment.

"This is science," she said, holding up an air filter. "This is to give (the students) an idea of what is being used."

The students now must produce a video that highlights how STEM principles are being used to address air pollution. With a January 23 submission deadline, the students and Ms. Broxton will be working hard to finish the project. If they are selected as one of the 15 finalists, they will win between $40,000 and $110,000 in Samsung technology.

Kim Echols, principal at PMSA, said that she is proud of Ms. Broxton being named a semifinalist in the competition.

"The additional funding would be a definite asset in assisting PMSA in utilizing technology to meet the rigorous demands of education in a technological society," she said. "Technology engages students and makes learning hands on and interactive."
 
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