Countryside Montessori Students are 'S.M.A.R.T'

A team from the charter school is named one of six regional finalists in the national Exploravision competition.

in Land O’ Lakes recently had another team of students make regional finals in the annual Exploravision competition sponsored by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association.

Only six teams in the nation are chosen as regional finalists from thousands of entries, team mentor Heather Tomasello said.  This is the second consecutive year Tomasello’s team from Countryside was chosen as a regional finalist.

This year “our team thought of the S.M.A.R.T. School, a school which would use the movement and sound energy created by students and convert it to electric energy for clean, green, inexpensive power. The school’s desks and chairs would also feature special antibacterial nanoplastic materials to keeps students and teachers healthier,” Tomasello said.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for sound, movement, antibacterial, renewable and technology.

The team was honored at a school assembly on Friday, March 23, along with three other teams from the school who participated.  Of those four teams, two of them placed in the competition.

“For our school to place two teams, that’s huge,” team coach and Countryside teacher Bobbianne Grant said.

The S.M.A.R.T. School team faced tough questions from their classmates about the viability of their project model during the assembly —“How does the plastic work?” and ‘What if people stop moving?”— but they were prepared.

A back-up generator will supply power to the S.M.A.R.T. School when people power isn’t present, the team said. The nanopolastic —a copy of sharkskin, found to be antibacterial—would cause germs to slide off the furniture or die.

The S.M.A.R.T. School team will now compete against the five other regional finalists at the national level. For this portion of the competition, the students had to create a video and a website featuring the details of their project. The students designed everything, wrote all of the content and took all of the pictures, Tomasello said. A local graphic artist, Lynda Damiata of Kabay Graphics, volunteered to put it all together.

“She made it come to life, which was very kind,” Tomasello said.

The first and second place national teams will be announced sometime in mid-April, Toshiba representative Peter Fehrenbach said.

Those two teams will win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., where the students will visit Congress and meet with Bill Nye the Science Guy. Each member of the first place national team also will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship. Members of the second-place national team will each earn a $5,000 scholarship.

Want to know more about the school of the future? View the students' S.MA.R.T. School website.



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