Middle School Students Take on Dead Weight in Auto Industry, Win Nationwide Contest


Image Credit: Siemens Foundation

Well it's no surprise to readers of TreeHugger that there's plenty of "dead weight" in the auto industry, but a team of Iowa middle school students took on the challenge of eliminating some of it themselves. And it turns out they've been announced as the grand prize winners in the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, the nationwide hunt for youth with sustainable ideas created in partnership with Discovery Education and the NSTA.It seems this group of middle school students realized that the lead wheel weights in tires has an enormous environmental impact long after they're through spinning in circles mile after mile. And their concept beat out over 2,000 other contestants to take home the grand prize.

Basically, teammates Jathan Kron, Justin Roth and Brennan Nelson at West Branch Middle School, led by their teacher Hector Ibarra put together a presentation to the City Council, Community School District, and other civic organizations and convinced them to phase out the use of lead wheel weights in vehicles owned by the city and school districts. They also teamed up with local legislators to develop three bills proposing to phase out the harmful metal beyond their immediate community.

Now they'll wind up receiving an incredible prize package that includes an appearance on Planet Green, a once-in-a-lifetime Discovery Adventure Trip along with a TV personality, and a $5K U.S. Savings bond, among other things.

So congrats to these incredible kids, who've worked to put together an incredible project that certainly can be replicated in places big and small across the U.S. to make a difference.

Of course, if you've got an idea of your own there's always next year's competition, and you can keep tabs on it by checking out the We Can Change the World website for more information.

More on Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge
Siemens, Discovery, NSTA Launch "We Can Change the World Challenge"
Siemens, Discovery, NSTA Announce Student Finalists in "We Can Change the World Challenge

Tags: Car Sharing | Commuting | Green Youth | Pollution | Transportation

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