Science Team advances to Samsung national finalist competition

Photo courtesy of Dusty Rael

By June Peers

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Team, which is a subset of the Science Team, recently won $50,000 in technology and classroom supplies in a competition which encourages middle and high school students to use STEM to address local issues. The Granada Hills Charter team submitted their Nano Chek system which works to filter natural bodies of water.
The team advances to the national finalist competition, where their pitch could win them an additional $100,000 in classroom supplies and technology.

Last year, the team competed in the UCLA Nanovation competition which was hosted by the California Nanosystems Institute. The purpose of this contest was to address any new environmental changes in the community by building a hypothetical product that uses nanoparticles.

The team invented an environmentally friendly, cost-effective filtration system called Nano Chek which extracts ammonium phosphate from natural bodies of water. The materials used for their prototype were miniature buoys, ropes, and mesh bags that filter the water.
To combat the ever-increasing number of wildfires, fire retardant (phos-chek), which contains ammonium phosphate, is often released onto the fire. Fire retardants can also spread, thus resulting in the ammonium phosphate contaminating bodies of water. Additionally, ammonium phosphate is in fertilizer and industrial waste run-off, which often travel to these waters. This can result in toxic algal blooms that can kill entire marine ecosystems.

The Science Team exercised their innovation when creating this filter as there are not many filtration systems for natural bodies of water. In the Nanovation competition, the team won second place.

“Through that competition and the making of our product, we all got to know each other,” junior Kaylin Kim, a third-year member of the Science Team, said.

Due to the team’s interest in the topic, they wanted to further study these filtration systems and expand upon their product prototype. They entered Nano Chek into the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition. There were three phases in the competition: the proposal phase, the phase where students make a three-minute video explaining their product, and the national competition phase.

The team reached the national phase and won $50,000 in technology and classroom supplies. Granada Hills Charter High School was named one of ten National Finalist schools from across the country.

Currently, the team is preparing to go to New York to make a final pitch to judges for the national competition. In New York, three of the National Finalists will be selected as National Winners who will win an additional prize of $100,000.

Throughout the year, the Science Team has used their creativity to combat environmental changes. Their product has the potential to make a remarkable impact on the poor quality of water for marine life, and in the forthcoming years, they will continue to make such efforts for their community.

The Science Team has three competitive teams: Science Olympiad, Science Bowl, and the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Team. Having separate teams that create a whole science team gives participants the opportunity to pursue various elements of the wide field of science. The team meets as a whole every Monday and Friday to pursue their STEM interests and work toward their individual projects whether that be research or inventions.

“In general, the Science Team does any competitive or in-depth independent student-led projects that the students will bring to us,” advisor and interpreter Dusty Rael said.
In order to help The Science Team of Granada Hills Charter High School win an additional $10,000 and the title of Community Choice Winners, you can vote for this amazing team on the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow website. Voting will end on April 23, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. With the community’s continued support, hopefully, the Science Team will win the title of National Winner.