Belk, Discovery Education, and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) have announced the winners of the third annual Belk Service Learning Challenge. Designed to support educators, and based on research that students who participate in service learning initiatives demonstrate improved problem-solving skills and increased interest in academics, the challenge encouraged middle school students to help improve their communities through undertaking a service-learning project of their choice.
The Belk Service Learning Challenge invited students to work in teams of up to four classmates with the support and guidance of a teacher/mentor to identify an issue in their local community and design an action plan to implement a solution. The three grand prize winning teams will each receive $2,000 per student team member and a $2,000 teacher award. The grand prize winners include:
* Team: “Prosthetic Kids” from District 5 of Lexington & Richland Counties’ CrossRoads Middle School
Location: Columbia, SC
Project Description: Students used 3D printers to create prosthetic hands for children in need, and hosted a school-wide Hand-A-Thon event to assemble more than 20 additional prosthetic hands.
* Team: “Dead Run Stream Cleanup” from Baltimore County Public Schools’ Southwest Academy Magnet School
Location: Baltimore, MD
Project Description: Students researched pollution levels of Baltimore’s Dead Run stream, and created an action plan to revitalize the stream by removing all trash and pollutants, preventing runoff, and balancing the water’s pH and oxygen levels.
* Team: “Saving Sidewalks” from Buncombe County Schools’ A.C. Reynolds Middle School
Location: Asheville, NC
Project Description: Students designed an action plan to gain approval from the City of Asheville to build new sidewalks in downtown neighborhoods with busy roads to help protect pedestrians, and keep their community members safe.
Created solely to support these students through every step of the Challenge, the online destination BelkServiceLearningChallenge.com equips 6th-8th grade educators with free, standards-based service-learning curriculum, including lesson plans and multimedia tools that reinforce the importance of social responsibility and volunteerism to societies and economics. This year’s Challenge was open to students in grades 6-8 who reside in one of the 16 states where Belk has a presence – including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
For more information on the Belk Service Learning Challenge or to view the free classroom resources, please visit BelkServiceLearningChallenge.com.
Source: Discovery Education, discoveryeducation.com/