Lexus and Scholastic publishers, sponsors of the Lexus Eco Challenge, announced on March 20 that the Carbonators, an eight-student team from Clark Magnet High School, won a first prize in the fifth annual Lexus Eco Challenge.
Clark’s Carbonators is one of eight teams nationwide to win a $15,000 first prize with $3,000 designated for the school, $2,000 for the teacher advisor and $10,000 in scholarships for the students, said Nancy Hubbell of Lexus Communications. Two additional teams won a $30,000 grand prize.
The prestigious Lexus national contest encourages middle and high school students to develop and implement environmental programs that positively impact their communities. In January, the Carbonators won $10,000 from Lexus by demonstrating their project and qualifying for the final challenge competition.
The Lexus Eco Challenge, created by automaker Lexus, and children’s publisher Scholastic was designed to educate young people about the environment and to inspire them to solve problems.
The Carbonators, under the direction of teacher-advisor Dominique Evans-Bye, used ArcGIS mapping technology to research the negative impact of ozone smog in Los Angeles County, the most polluted metropolitan area in the nation, and to address how smog negatively affects the environment. The Carbonators then identified smog levels throughout California with data from the Environmental Protection Agency and used the data to create spatial analysis maps in ArcGIS mapping software.
With the spatial statistics tools in ArcGIS, the Clark students were able to directly correlate ground-level ozone smog to asthma incidents, using data from the Department of Health. To then illustrate an option for alternative energy, students utilized the Los Angeles Solar Map Project data to map potential energy savings from solar panels if they were placed at each school in the Glendale Unified School District.
The Carbonators partnered with the Alliance for Climate Education, a nation nonprofit dedicated to teaching high school students about climate science, and held an assembly at Clark Magnet High School to promote alternative energy options to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
To take their project to a global level, the students mapped ozone smog levels in Europe with ArcGIS online. They created a “Wiffiti” site and connected to Twitter to display messages from around the world reporting on ozone smog issues. The team consulted with Dr. Yifei Sun, a geography professor at California State University, Northridge, for guidance on their project.
Clark is a magnet high school in the Glendale Unified School District with an emphasis on science and technology. Clark Magnet students send several project proposals to Lexus-Scholastic each year.
“The project-based group learning promoted by the Lexus Eco Challenge gives students a chance to put skills they learn at school to work, using data and technology to identify problems and craft real-world solutions,” said Clark Magnet High School Principal Doug Dall.
Another Clark student team, also under the direction of teacher Dominique Evans-Bye, won the Lexus Eco Challenge grand prize for land and water project in 2011 for their in-depth presentation on the dangers of pollution making its way through the local ocean food chain.
“For anyone who wonders if teens today care about the world, the Lexus Eco Challenge is proof that they do,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Through this program, more than 25,000 participants have demonstrated that they want to make the world a better place. By coming up with real-world solutions to environmental challenges, students are learning how they can make a difference in the world around them.”