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Lexus Eco Challenge 2011/2012 Spotlight

Are you thinking about entering the Lexus Eco Challenge but are hesitant about all the extra effort it will take? This inspiring teacher along with her high school team of student-crusaders at Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta, CA may motivate you to take on an environmental initiative in your community.

Now Ms. Evans-Bye is working with a new team, the Leviathans, and they are busy trying to win this year’s Final Challenge. We asked the student team members to talk about their project, and the impact it is having in their communities and in their lives.

Watch the video

 

Winning the Air/Climate Challenge has not only given the students money to continue their work and pay for college, but it’s given them confidence and life skills to tackle any challenge as maturing young adults.

 

Read on to hear from the students themselves about how winning this challenge has changed their lives and their futures, and why entering this challenge is well worth the effort.

 

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How did you choose your topic?

Tevin: I visualize a community that is both green and efficient. However, Los Angeles, the city that raised me since the day I was born, isn’t exactly this dream community. In fact, in a 2011 American Lung Association survey, Los Angeles ranked number one in terms of high ozone levels and number two in terms of unhealthy year-round particle pollution levels. My team and I live in one of the most polluted cities in the United States, and the air condition progressively grows worse.

I want to change that. Although I can’t stop the growth myself, I can take part in the community to reduce the exponentially growing concern of our unhealthy air. Even doing something as simple as creating this project can be huge if the whole community takes part in it.


How does your project help your local environment?

Edmond: Our project helps the local environment by informing not only our
community but everyone that smog pollution is a big deal in the world we are living in now.

Yeprem: Our project allows regular, everyday people, as well as professionals in various fields of environmental and non-environmental study, to look at their own residences and see the effects of smog in terms of air quality and asthma risk.

Hrair: Our project targets establishments that need solar panels to both save the environment from output of CO2 emissions, and reduce the taxpayer’s money toward producing electricity for our schools.

Tevin: We presented a challenge to the Glendale Unified School Board: cut down the levels of emission of every school by doing simple things like switching off lights when a room is unoccupied and turning off air-conditioning units over weekends.


What advice would you give to other kids considering taking on this challenge?
Steve: Be passionate about your topic. Treat it as if you’re saving a life and not winning a prize.

Tevin: Always finish the project before the due date. Don’t wait until the last minute, or you’ll stress yourself out. Above all, have fun when researching your project! Blast some music while creating the PowerPoint! Play a game with your team once in a while. It may be extra work, but don’t make it a burden; make it something enjoyable.

Yeprem: Start as soon as possible, even a year in advance if necessary. Do all the research beforehand and organize a plan of action. If you’re scared of the extra work, suck it up—that’s life. No one makes a difference in this world without hard work. At the end of the day, it’s not about having fun. It’s about saying, “I changed my environment for the better.”


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How has working on this project and/or winning the prize changed you?

Adrian: I didn’t really care about the extraordinary smog levels in Los Angeles County. Now, I’m more aware of this issue and realize it’s a very big deal.

Yeprem: This project has shown me that the capability of the adolescent teen is highly underestimated. Teens have more potential to make a difference than the average adult with proper guidance and teamwork. 

Edmond: Winning the prize has changed how satisfied I really am with the project, and will help me tackle much bigger projects.

Steve: It taught me that proper cooperation overcomes any obstacle.

Hrair: Working on this project really taught me a life lesson the textbooks can’t. Through sheer effort, we achieved the impossible. We actually made a change in the environment. That is something to stand tall about—that an average lot of high school students made a dent in keeping our environment safe.


Are you like rock stars at school now?
Edmond: I wouldn't say we’re rock stars, but students are definitely supporting all of our projects and are excited that we have won.

Steve: No, we are like role models for the future classes. I am in a better position to afford college now.

Adrian: As far as winning the prize, it feels good. However, I'm not going to spend most of it. The prize is going toward university expenses.

Tevin: The best part about winning this project is that my school gains a higher reputation. It’s not Clark anymore. It’s Clark, the school that had the team that won more than $10,000 to help its community. But above all the increased fame, the students are much more aware of the environment, which is ultimately what I wanted.

Hrair: I wouldn’t say rock stars, but more like heroes, making our community a safer place for future generations.


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What’s next for you?

Adrian: We’re taking this project to a global scale. We encouraged our school to install solar panels to conserve energy (and to cut energy bills). We generated more research-intensive maps, and we hope we can make even a bigger difference in our community.

Yeprem: We plan to assess smog levels around the world. Edmond and I have both interned at the City of Glendale, doing GIS work  (geographic information system) and urban planning for the city. Edmond now makes $10 an hour doing GIS work (the same software we all learned in the classroom) for the city’s public works department mapping metro bus routes.

Steve: I want to pursue cancer research. This project has taught me that extensive research can help achieve any goal.

Hrair: After graduating from high school, I’m having high hopes of going to a distinguished university to receive my degree in electrical engineering. I am planning on significantly reducing the use of electricity in our country, and helping to save millions, if not billions in electricity bills, and reducing the pollution from burning fossil fuels. Working on this project has helped me confirm my major in electrical engineering, with the goal of discovering innovations to keep our environment safe.

 

Talk with your friends and teachers about the 6th annual Lexus Eco Challenge. Learn more at www.scholastic.com/lexus or email us at ecochallenge@scholastic.com.

 

 

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Celebrate Earth Day With the Lexus Eco Challenge!

FUNFACTS_ENTRY_8_23 Happy Earth Day! To all the teams that participated in the fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge, today marks the culmination of all of your hard work.

As your team joins the rest of the country to honor the environment, take a moment to reflect back on everything you’ve accomplished over the past year. You have all proven that you make a difference and, even if you have to start small, the impact can be great.

For four years running, the Lexus Eco Challenge has given students the opportunity to work together to protect the environment and, each year, we continue to be impressed by all that you achieve. We want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of you on your commitment, teamwork ,and dedication to helping make the world a better place.

As we look forward to next year and the fifth annual Lexus Eco Challenge, we can’t wait to work together again. With that in mind, remember: Helping the planet is something that you can do every day. Take what you’ve learned with the Lexus Eco Challenge and apply it to the months and years ahead.

On that note, thanks again for your participation—we’ll see you next year!

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More Green Facts From the Lexus Eco Challenge

IMG_BLOG 21 The fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge may be over, but that only means one thing: It’s time to start thinking about next year! It’s never too early to start collecting ideas for the fall. As the spring and summer months arrive, keep your eyes and ears open—you never know when inspiration may strike. To help you look ahead, we pulled together some more green facts. Remember, registration for the fifth annual Lexus Eco Challenge will be here before you know it!

Did You Know…

• The United States consumed 99 Quadrillion BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy in 2008, mostly in the form of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. One BTU is equal to the amount of energy that is released by burning a single match, which means that the United State’s energy consumption that year added up to 99,000,000,000,000,000 matches! That means 1 million matches per person per day!

• That the amount of sunlight that lands on the earth’s surface in one minute is enough to meet the world energy needs for one full year?

• If the entire population of the United States used only cold water to wash their clothes, the country would save $3 billion in energy costs each year and cut national CO2 emissions by more than 1 percent?

• That recycling 1 ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 20 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 60 pounds of air pollutants, and even saves energy to power the average home for six months?

For more green facts, visit goinggreentoday.com.

Source: Going Green Today

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Tips for Next Year’s Lexus Eco Challenge From Past Winner Brian Sievers

66949 A year goes by so fast! It’s hard to believe that the fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge has already come to a close. But that only means one thing: It’s time to start brainstorming ideas for next year! As you and your team start thinking about new ways to help the environment, take your cue from Brian Sievers, an Illinois teacher whose team—the H.E.R.O.E.S. (Helping to Engender Renewable Energy Sources)—won first place during this year’s Final Challenge. A longtime participant in the Lexus Eco Challenge (and a two-time grand prize winner), Brian shares his insights below, and passes along quite a few tips that could benefit your team next year!

The Prize-Winning Idea

To coincide with our biodiesel project from the Air/Climate competition, the H.E.R.O.E.S. starting working with a nonprofit group called Food Desert Action (FDA) on a project to convert a donated Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus into a fresh produce store on wheels that runs on our biodiesel.  The city of Chicago has vast areas of food deserts—areas where residents have no way to buy fresh produce. By May the FDA bus will be ready to drive to food deserts around the city and offer residents fresh and organic produce to buy. The H.E.R.O.E.S. team is donating labor to rehab the bus, biodiesel to power the bus, and raised $525 to donate toward the purchase of solar panels for the bus.

In addition, the H.E.R.O.E.S. raised equipment donations to build a second, fully functional biodiesel system. They transported the system components to Mendota High School, about two hours from Chicago, and donated the system to the FFA club at Mendota. Our team did this to help Mendota start their own biodiesel program and to spread the word about the benefits of biodiesel. With rising pollution levels and fuel costs, biodiesel is a smart and green alternative fuel.

Lastly, our team put together a PowerPoint presentation on how to make biodiesel and a biodiesel system. They sent the PowerPoint to a company called INALMA in Honduras. This company makes fried plantains for export. They produce a lot of waste vegetable oil (WVO), the main feedstock for biodiesel. The H.E.R.O.E.S. are helping INALMA design a biodiesel system to utilize the WVO and convert it into an inexpensive green fuel. Energy in Honduras is expensive and this not only would create jobs producing biodiesel, but offer a clean and inexpensive fuel alternative.

What His Students Learned

Jake Morley, a senior on the H.E.R.O.E.S. team summed it up the best. He said, “This project allowed me to finally put into practical use the material I have learned during my four years of high school.” I know that the other members of the team felt the same; however, they also expressed that they gained a great deal of experience in using a variety of tools, making presentations, public speaking, managing their time, networking, purchasing, working as a team, testing biodiesel, and applying chemistry and physics to making biodiesel.

Brian’s Top 10 Tips for the Lexus Eco Challenge

1. Organize your PC. Make folders for everything! Organize your emails and pictures especially. You'll thank me later when you are looking for that one email or picture and you have hundreds to go through.

2. Photograph everything. Remember, it’s all about what the students are doing and how well you convey that story to the judges. Take pictures and videos of every activity if you can. The most important thing Lexus sees is the pictures—they must tell your story. Lastly, get all those media waiver forms signed by parents!

3. Elect a Team Captain ASAP. You will have enough trouble keeping track of what you are doing, let alone what the students are doing, or are supposed to be doing. Trust me, you need a student liaison to relay information to and stay on top of the team members. It will make your life a lot easier.

4. Leave no stone unturned. Think outside the box with your project. Work with groups, officials, and organizations that you might never have thought of. Kids are great at coming up with what may appear as “zany” ideas, but think twice before ruling them out. They may be the idea that makes your project shine above the rest.

5. Stay on top of your students. They are still kids. You need to check on them regularly to make sure they made that flyer, made that call, purchased those materials, or edited that section of the PowerPoint. You need to do this especially during “crunch” time, a couple of weeks before that infamous PowerPoint is due!

6. Students must multitask. You have to assign tasks to students based on their strengths, but this is a team. You only have five to 10 students, so everyone on the team must have more than one task. Students should also overlap to check each other. For example, have a couple of students make calls to groups you plan to work with to ensure they get calls back, or have a couple of students work on choosing and organizing pictures. This builds teamwork skills.

7. Plan ahead. Before the contest begins, start brainstorming ideas with students. Set reasonable time lines—60 days will go faster than you think. You will have to plan for Saturday and Sunday activities and meetings. There is almost no way to do this working only during the school week. In my three years participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge, I have spent countless—yet rewarding—hours with students after school, on weekends, and over holidays. You and the students have to plan to sacrifice a lot of time. Let the students know this up front.

8. Pick your team wisely. If you want to win, you need to have students who are devoted to making a difference and who can commit to being there. It's nearly impossible to have a team you can count on if a couple of students are involved in four or five other clubs or activities. If you want to prevent a lot of headaches, have a meeting and tell the students that this will be one of the greatest things they ever do in high school, but it will also be one of the most demanding.  

9. Set attainable goals. While students have the ability to think way outside the box, sometimes as the adult, you need to reel them in and make sure that what they want to do is possible, safe, and affordable. For example, while it might be great to clean all 1,600 miles of shoreline for Lake Michigan, you might want to pick a slightly smaller lake.

10. Start Simple. This idea seems simple enough but you need to let the project grow as it progresses. You should have a basic or core idea for the project and add new aspects as the project progresses. Two years ago, I started a project just making biodiesel. A group approached me about how to make biodiesel for people in rural Haiti. The next thing I know I am designing a biodiesel system and collecting equipment for making a system to send to a school in rural Haiti. Then I realized they have no electricity; however, they have lots of sun in Haiti. So,we began to collect and build a solar panel system and solar thermal system for the school and biodiesel system. Lastly, we discovered they have no tools to maintain the system, so we had a recycled tool drive to collect any old tools we could to send to the school in Haiti. This whole project started with one simple idea and grew into one of the greatest projects I ever worked on with students.  A simple idea grew into an enormous project to make a difference in the world!

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Question of the Week: What Is Your Team Doing in Honor of Earth Day?

IMG_BLOG 21 Earth Day is just a few days away! On April 22, we want to know—what are you doing to honor the Earth?

After all of your team’s hard work for the fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge, now’s the time to keep that momentum going. Use the skills you learned and the knowledge you gained over the past year to educate others about the importance of taking care of the environment. There’s so much we can do to make a difference and protect the natural resources that our planet provides.

So tell us—what are your plans for Earth Day? Is your school doing anything special to celebrate the day? What does your Lexus Eco Challenge team have planned to teach others about the importance of this cause? Let us know in the comments section below or send an email to ecochallenge@scholastic.com. We might share your ideas in a future post!

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Meet the First Place Winners of the Final Challenge!

POST 15 Congratulations to all the teams who participated in the fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge! We’ve tallied all the results and let us say—the competition was fierce this year. Earlier this week, we introduced you to the teacher advisors for grand prize-winning teams Ladies of the Light and the Eco-Savers 2011. Now we want you to meet the first place winners for this year’s Final Challenge. Read on to learn about each team’s award-winning project!

H.E.R.O.E.S. (Helping to Engender Renewable Organic Energy Sources)

This Illinois–based team worked together to strengthen their biodiesel-focused efforts locally and internationally. They’ll expand their project in Honduras and already extensively helped local nonprofit Food Desert Action convert a Chicago Transit Authority diesel bus into an eco-friendly organic produce vendor on wheels!

Solar Kids

Based in Florida, the Solar Kids focused their efforts on carbon emissions by fund-raising, pineland restoration, recycling campaigns, and more. They even developed a program to benefit a rainforest in Haiti!

Shuttle Bugs

Using TV media, newspapers, web communication, and more, this Colorado-based team worked together to get the word out about the Summer Shuttle Solutions program—an environmentally sound solution to reducing the hefty load of vehicular tourist traffic motoring through their town!

HMS Hawks

This team—based in South Carolina—encouraged the reduction of litter for the benefit of sea turtles, which are subject to significant health dangers when they ingest discarded plastic bags or balloons. The team adopted a sea turtle and held events to spur widespread use of reusable sacks, which resulted in the collection of nearly 13,000 plastic bags!

Environmental Discovery Project

With a focus on composting and recycling, this Ohio-based team went outside of their home turf to teach others about the importance of this cause. Their worldwide efforts were a huge success—their hard work led to compos toilet funding in Afghanistan and Ecuador, as well as tree-plantings to help build sustainable forests  in Kenya!

Wet Hands in the Wetlands

Thanks to this New York–based team’s active information campaigns, events promoting green thinking, and a successful Adopt-a-Turtle program, the threatened wetlands near their school have a lot of people looking out for them!

Team Kreepy Krawlers

This New Jersey–based team focused on the ecological damage that the gypsy moth has done to their region. The team conducted loads of research and experiments and spoke to experts about ridding local trees of the moths. Through public forums, YouTube videos, and school presentations, Team Kreepy Krawlers got the word out about their project!

Eco Med

Based in Florida, this team polled peers and conducted research to discover that low levels of mercury are hiding in our everyday. Eco Med sent letters to their state’s legislative body and will present at Wheelabrator Technologies Symposium for Environment and Education to help foster change!

For more information on the winners of Challenge #1, Challenge #2, and the Final Challenge, click here.

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Interview with Grand Prize Winner Dominique Evans-Bye!

LadiesLight Now that the grand prize winners of the fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge have been announced, we want to let you in on the details behind their path to success. Earlier this week, we introduced you to Gina Pignotti, teacher advisor for grand-prize-winning team Ladies of the Light. Next up, meet Dominique Evans-Bye. She led her California-based team—called the Eco-Savers 2011—to victory by helping them study the global impact caused by organic and inorganic contamination in lobster. Here Dominique talks about her team’s project and their secrets for success.

1) Tell me about your team’s Final Project—how would you describe what your team did to earn the grand prize?

For the Final Challenge, our team expanded our study of contaminants in California spiny lobster to investigate whether or not this was a global issue. Santa Monica Seafood Company donated a dozen lobster tails from East Canada, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Western Australia. Students tested tissue samples for organic and inorganic contamination at the California State University, Long Beach Institute for Integrated Research in Materials, Environments and Society lab. The team used ArcGIS to map a weighted average of contaminant level by lobster size and used a color-coded classification system to show concentrations of contaminants by area.

2)   How did your team come up with the idea?

In previous years I have taken my class on research cruises in the Los Angeles Harbor. The crew would bring up marine life using otter trawls. We would observe the creatures and the crew would release them back into the ocean (most of them). Any lobster or halibut would be stowed in the captain’s freezer. The students would always ask if marine life out of the harbor was safe to eat. One year we tested harbor sediment samples for heavy metals and made spatial analysis maps of the results. We followed up by testing marine life from different trophic levels to document bio-magnification. We found the lobster from the harbor to be high in heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury. From that point on, we wanted to see how far the contamination extended.

3)   What did your students enjoy most about the experience?

I think the students even surprised themselves at what they could actually accomplish when they set their minds to it and effectively worked together as a team. They are very proud of the final project they created. It must be the process they enjoy most, because they are already planning projects for next year.

4)   As a teacher, what was it like watching your students work together on a project like this?

It was very exciting watching my students apply skills they learned in biology, chemistry, and marine science to produce a project even a grad student could be proud of.

5)   How did your team react when you told them the good news that they won?

When I gave my students the news we had won the Grand Prize for the Final Challenge, I did not get the joyful response I had expected. I was notified later in the afternoon, so when I called a student at home to tell him, he responded, “MRS. BYE, ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME?” “DON’T MESS WITH ME!” “IF YOU’RE MESSING WITH ME, THAT IS NOT NICE!” “Did we win, really?” Another student could only utter in disbelief, “No… no… no…” So I asked if we should give the award back, to which he replied, “NO, NO, NO!”

6)   What did your team learn from this experience?

Students learned project management skills, effective communication strategies, how to design, propose, and implement a scientific research study and what it is like to do chemical analysis in a university laboratory.

7)   What was your favorite part about participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge?

My favorite part of the Lexus Eco Challenge is giving the normal, average student the opportunity to do something exceptional.

8)   Why is environmental awareness an important cause to teach?

Environmental awareness is a critical part of education. Students make choices every day that affect the environment, and they will soon be voters, supporting or opposing policies that directly impact the environment. They need to be able to fully understand the options and make informed, wise choices.

9)   Do you have any helpful tips or advice that you can share with other teachers and teams who are interested in participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge?

Yes! Tip #1: Do a lot of brainstorming. Kids come up with some unique perspectives and have lots of good ideas. Tip #2: Don’t wait. Deadlines come up way faster than anticipated. Build in extra days for the unexpected to throw off your time line. Tip #3: The advisor needs to do the work behind the scenes that opens the doors for the project development. Make initial contacts in the community that students can follow up on.

10) Now that the Eco-Savers 2011 won the grand prize, tell us—what’s your secret to success?

Motivation is the key. Students have to be willing to put forth the effort on the project, even if they believe they have no chance of winning. To motivate students, the project should not just be an assignment that is given to them. The Eco Challenge project needs to mean something to the team. They design it and own it while the advisor subtly shapes it in order for it to be scientifically valid and relevant.

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Interview With Grand Prize Winner Gina Pignotti!

LadiesLight The results are in and the grand prize winners of the fourth annual Lexus Eco Challenge have been announced. We caught up with Gina Pignotti, teacher advisor for Ladies of the Light, a Wisconsin-based team that raised half of the funds needed to purchase solar panels for their school. Here Gina explains how her team accomplished such a task and lets us in on all the different lessons learned along the way.

1) Tell us about your team’s Final Project—how would you describe what you did?

After researching renewable energy resources, Ladies of the Light decided to start a fund at our school to purchase and install solar panels. To accomplish this goal, the team began by inviting a representative from a large nonprofit organization in our city to visit the school and teach them about fund-raising for a cause. After gaining wisdom in this area, they drafted and sent out a letter requesting donations from school families. Then they reached out to parish and neighborhood communities by creating a parish bulletin insert and sending it out via email to the neighborhood LISTSERV. They also drafted and sent out a letter to local businesses and applied for a large grant.

In addition, Ladies of the Light created a campaign to encourage others to convert to similar renewable energy sources in their homes, businesses, and schools. The main way they accomplished this goal was by contacting the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Life Sciences Department technology nhanced learning lead consultant, who helped them create a documentary video to share their story. Further, they worked with Madison Gas and Electric (our local energy provider) to set up a statewide teacher professional development course for K–12 teachers at our school in the fall on the topic of renewable energy. Finally, they set up a scholarship to be awarded to another school to help them start their own renewable energy project.

2)   How did your team come up with the idea?

The students began by researching the topic of energy. Together they decided they wanted to start making a positive impact on the environment by helping our school convert to some form of renewable energy. During a roundtable brainstorming session, someone threw out the idea of putting solar panels on the school. The initial reaction was overwhelming doubt that it could not be done because it was such a lofty goal. I interjected and said, “Why not? Dream big!” And so they did. After funds started coming in, they realized that it was possible and so they wanted to share their story with others, assuring them that big goals like this are achievable. Then,they decided they didn’t want to just encourage other schools, they also wanted to offer them help to get going on a project—so they created a scholarship.

3)   What did your students enjoy most about the experience?

The students really enjoyed using the knowledge they gained to pursue an exciting and worthy cause that could make a real difference in our school, community, and the world. In reflecting on the experience, many of them also mentioned that they enjoyed working with peers who they didn’t normally work with and finding ways to collaborate well with one another. The process of video production was another fun part of the project that they loved and I saw that they enjoyed when they were able to share what they knew with other students, staff, community members, and media representatives. 

4)   As a teacher, what was it like watching your students work together on a project like this?

It was really awesome watching them engage in a project with a goal that was relevant and meaningful. They could see how their knowledge about energy could be put to use to make an actual difference in the world. From the beginning, they committed to working well together to achieve their goals, which was critical. It impressed me how much they believed in their work, how much time they were willing to put into it, and how well they collaborated. Overall, a project like this and the student response is how I dream (and strive) for education to be: relevant, meaningful, engaging, and collaborative.   

5)   How did your team react when you told them the good news that they had won?

The students and parents were cleaning up from a school event on the evening I found out we won. All I can remember is a lot of screaming, running around, and jumping into each others’ arms—students, parents, and teacher included! Phone calls started being made including leaving a message for one team member who was on vacation in Mexico with her family at the time. She and her family (and the other passengers on the return flight, apparently) celebrated when she received the message upon landing back at home. 

6)   What did your team learn from this experience?

Through their research, the students learned a great deal about the topic of energy and renewable energy in particular. Additionally, they learned how to work with a group toward a common goal, that hard work and determination produce results—and that focus, cooperation, time management, and asking for help are key to success. Finally, they learned how to implement a successful fund-raising campaign and new ways to format a PowerPoint presentation.

7)   What was your favorite part of participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge?

I enjoyed seeing the students collaborate to engage in a relevant, meaningful project. It was also fun to see their confidence build over time as their hard work yielded results and to see the awareness of and excitement about the project grow in our school and community as they shared their work.

8)   Why is environmental awareness an important cause to teach?

I’ve heard scientists say that we are at a crossroads at this point in history when it comes to the environment and that this generation will either be viewed as heroic or vilified based on how they take care of the earth in the coming years. As a teacher, it is encouraging to see that teens respond with a desire to be the heroic generation when educated and challenged to make a difference. They recognize that they are stewards of the earth, and they have the desire and drive to make positive changes. One of my students, in an interview with a newspaper, said, “Being stewards of the earth and protecting the environment is important.” Another added, “We want to be the generation they say, ‘They fixed it…they helped us move on.’”

9)   Do you have any helpful tips and advice that you can share with other teachers and teams that are interested in participating in the Lexus Eco Challenge?

On a broad scale, know that it can take a lot of time and hard work, but it is totally worth it for all the benefits that result. On a more logistical level, setting up regular check-in times with the team and being sure to set goals for when we wanted tasks to be done was really helpful for us to stay on track. Also don’t be afraid to encourage the kids to dream big and to use their resources—especially the people and organizations around them that would want to invest in their project.

10) Now that Ladies of the Light won the grand prize, tell us—what’s your secret to success?

Having a clear understanding of the topic and dreaming big for how to effect change was the first secret to success. Other keys to success were a passionate belief in the project and, according to the team, focus, cooperation, time management, and asking for help.

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Share Your Tips: Advice for Next Year’s Lexus Eco Challenge

FUNFACTS_ALT_8_23 We’re hard at work tallying the winners of the Fourth Annual Lexus Eco Challenge. In the meantime, we want to hear from you!

As we plan for next year’s Lexus Eco Challenge, your feedback is invaluable to us. Share your tips and suggestions and let us know what worked (and what didn’t work) for your team this year. The advice you share can have a direct impact on the Challenge, and help us make improvements for those who participate next year.

It’s easy to share your thoughts! Simply post your ideas in the comments section below or send us an email at ecochallenge@scholastic.com.

Stay tuned this week as we announce the winners of the Final Challenge and check back for interviews with the grand prize winners!

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Green Facts to Help Others Learn How to Protect the Planet!

POST 13 Make a difference in your environment with these easy tips! Going green doesn’t have to be difficult—encourage your friends and family to join in on the fun and follow these simple steps to help improve the environment.

Recycle old electronics in your home. Take your old DVD player, TV, or computer to a collector or a recycling center in your town.

Don’t forget to carpool. When you and your friends are traveling to the same place, encourage your parents to choose one adult to drive you to your destination. This will not only save gas money, but will reduce the amount of air pollution, too!

• Think about materials that can be reused. Plastic bags, coffee cans, and wrapping paper are just a few things in your home that you can use again. Find ways to reuse other materials in your home and save on the amount of waste that you produce.

Earn money by recycling. Add to your allowance by recycling soda cans and plastic bottles. You can usually find a redemption center at your local grocery store.

For more tips like these, visit kidsbegreen.org.

Source: kidsbegreen.org.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Lexus Ecoblog are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.