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ExploraVision STEM competition challenges students to solve a future problem today

September 9th, 2016

Toshiba-backed contest to dole out various prizes, including a $10,000 savings bond

STEM education

The 2016-2017 Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) ExploraVision competition is kicking off the 25th year of the world’s largest K-12 science competition.

Sponsored by Toshiba and administered by NSTA, the ExploraVision program challenges participants to use problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills to build solutions to common issues found in every day life. S

Student participants will have a chance to win a number of great prizes, including $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds (at maturity). Registration is now open until February 6, 2017 at ExploraVision.org.

Teams of two to four students are challenged to research scientific principles and current technologies to design innovations that could exist in 20 years to solve a problem facing the world. With support from a teacher and an optional mentor, students simulate real scientific research to outline how they plan to evaluate their ideas and create mock websites to illustrate their concepts.

Over the past quarter century, the program has helped more than 360,000 students across the United States and Canada develop interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at an early age, as well as expand their imaginations and creativity. Last year’s winning projects ranged from a scanning device that detects the presence of deer ticks on the human body, to a bionic eye implant for people who have damaged or deteriorating retinas.

“We are very proud of the impact that the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program has had over the past 25 years,” said Fumio Otani, Chairman & CEO, Toshiba America, Inc. “At Toshiba, we believe that creativity is crucial to the scientific process, and we are proud to sponsor this science competition as part of our company’s commitment to the growth and development of the next generation of innovators.”

“The ExploraVision competition highlights the truly amazing potential that today’s generation of students hold,” said Dr. David Evans, NSTA Executive Director. “Since its inception, this program has not only served as a dynamic learning tool for educators, but has also complemented national STEM education initiatives by encouraging participants to enhance teamwork, problem solving and creative collaboration skills.”

Competition Opportunities and Prizes for Students

Student teams of two to four (with a teacher and optional adult mentor) compete in groups based on their grade levels: primary (K-3), upper elementary (4-6), middle level (7-9), and high school (10-12). There are two winner phases to the competition – regional and national. The 24 winning teams from six regions across the United States and Canada will receive a Toshiba laptop for their school, and each member of the team will receive additional science and technology-related gifts.

For the national phase, members of first-place nationally winning teams each receive a $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (at maturity). Members of second place nationally winning teams will each receive a $5,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (at maturity). Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. All first and second place national winners will receive an expense-paid trip for themselves, their parents/guardians, teachers and mentors to Washington, D.C. for a gala awards weekend in June 2017. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and a Science Showcase during which the students will display and demonstrate their winning ideas. The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision weekend will culminate with a gala awards banquet and ceremony where students will be formally recognized for their creativity and accomplishments.

Educator Resources and Benefits

This year, ExploraVision is offering special incentives and resources for teachers to help them integrate the competition into their curricula. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ExploraVision, the top 25 teachers who submit more than 25 eligible online entries will receive a science and technology-related gifts. For more information about prizing, visit http://www.exploravision.org/prizes.

About the Author:

Stephen Noonoo

Stephen Noonoo is the current editor of eSchool News. He is a former consultant for CUE, California’s ISTE affiliate, and managing editor of its quarterly publication, OnCUE. He has worked as a freelance writer, an education editor for SmartBrief newsletters, and as a staff editor for a well-known publication focusing on education technology.


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