As the nation’s leading provider of STEM curriculum for middle schools and high schools, we’re always looking for new ways to promote the power of imagination, innovation and learning. That’s why we developed the PLTW Innova Awards to honor some of the nation’s brightest students and most inspiring teachers involved in STEM education. This year’s Innova Awards were presented at the PLTW National Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. on October 20, 2010, where some of the most imaginative and innovative minds, including the Innova Award winners, came together to explore the latest in STEM education.
Innova Award winners for Imagination and Learning were selected by Einstein Fellows from the United States Department of Energy. Student applications were judged based on a rubric from PLTW that included points on a variety of categories including rationale for the project; description of the problem-solving process; STEM influence on the project; quality of solution; design brief; effectiveness of communication; and the quality of presentation. Teachers were judged on a set of categories including rationale of program; STEM integration; student engagement; student diversity; communication; and presentation.
Students: INNOVA AWARD FOR IMAGINATION
The Innova Imagination Award is given to three students for their work on a brilliant STEM-related project that demonstrates a high degree of critical thinking and imaginative problem solving. This year’s winners are:
David Hirsch and Brendan Isbell
Colorado Springs, CO
Brendan Isbell and David Hirsch of Sand Creek High School took on the challenge of creating a semi-automatic folding chair that can actually fit onto one's back for portability and then fold out for sitting without ever having to take the chair backpack off. They created a nine-minute video explaining the design of the chair, which included the use of cutting edge design software. The students said that the project taught them a lot about "the importance of a dynamic group setting of different mind styles to create efficient brainstorming and project prototyping ideas." Video
Semi-Automatic Folding Chair (SAFOC)
Round Rock, Texas
Jeremy Hunt of McNeil High School is so fascinated with 3D printers that he built one! 3D printers are complicated devices and can be very expensive: commercial models cost between $10,000 and $100,000. With the introduction of new technologies, this cost can been reduced to below $1,000, allowing hobbyists like Jeremy to get involved. Jeremy believes these printers have the ability to change the world by changing how we think about manufacturing. He states, "instead of going to the store, or ordering parts, they can be printed directly." Video
Hot Plate Control System for Fused Filament Fabrication Based 3D Printers
Osceola Condulle, a McLoud High School/Gordon Cooper Technology Center student and NASA INSPIRE intern, developed an "asteroid anchoring" concept that may be used in a future NASA mission. Osceola calls his project "life-changing" and a "real life application of the engineering design process." The project has strengthened his interest in the field of aerospace research and he plans to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Oklahoma. Video
Asteroid Anchoring Concepts
Teachers: INNOVA AWARD FOR LEARNING
The Innova Learning Award is given to an educator for demonstrating an “innovative approach" to teaching and learning STEM education. The Innova award for learning is awarded to one middle school teacher and one high school teacher. This year’s winners are:
Beth Zigmont and Andy Achenbach
Radnor Middle School, Wayne, PA
Radnor Middle School’s Gateway To Technology Program is providing students with a STEM curriculum that also integrates language arts and social studies. A diverse cross section of 8th graders investigate a range of topics – from tracing the development of STEM from the Renaissance to modern day to designing and building vehicles. Students build structures out of cans during the Holiday food drive and design cities of the future. They study the relationship of innovation and the Industrial Revolution as well as how technology changed the course of wars. Students are scoring well on the PSSA’s and the program is succeeding in engaging more students in STEM, as 60% of students in the program continue to explore STEM in high school. Video
Gateways Program at Radnor Middle School
Great Plains Technology Center, Lawton, OK
The Great Plains Technology Center (GPTC) in Oklahoma has established a comprehensive STEM academy dedicated to attracting students to advanced placement science and mathematics courses combined with application to real-world occupational outcomes. Jackie Archer recently hosted a national symposium where students from partner schools spent a week with lawmakers and key stakeholders studying energy and its effect on climate. Selected students then presented the findings at the state capitol to area legislators. The opportunity to participate in an activity that directly involved policy makers and legislative processes helped students define their roles as leaders in biomedical policy making in the future. Video
Biomedical Science and Medicine Exceptional Student Experiences
INNOVA AWARD FOR INNOVATION
Olin College, Located in Needham, Massachusetts, is the first independent engineering college of the new millennium. The College is preparing students to become exemplary engineering innovators who recognize needs, design solutions, and engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world. The curriculum is hands-on and flexible so that it can be adapted in real-time to whatever form the technology of tomorrow might take. Olin students are creating their own businesses, winning awards and entering the workforce fully prepared to contribute upon graduation. The College is dedicated to the discovery and development of the most effective educational approaches and aspires to serve as a model for others.