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Hudson Middle School students win $10,000 in STEM competition

STEM Solvers (from left to right): Annika Lautenbach, Lilly Andersen, Sadie Hedding and Ella Sutherland. Photo submitted by Christopher Deleon1 / 2
UT Astrum (from left to right): Ainsley Kennedy, Julia Ginsbach, Adrienne Weaver and Isabel Brown. Photo submitted by Christopher Deleon2 / 2

Two teams from Hudson Middle School have swept state in the eCybermission STEM Competition winning $10,000 in savings bonds. Since the first day of school, two teams of Project Lead the Way students have been working hard on changing the world.

The first-place team, "UT Astrum," is led by Ainsley Kennedy, Julia Ginsbach, Adrienne Weaver and Isabel Brown. This team took on the challenge of providing safe drinking water to people around the world in an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way. Their solution was to filter water through a very thin form of calcite that everyone would recognize ... egg shells. This semi-porous material allows water molecules to pass through while trapping some of the impurities and microorganisms out. For their inventive idea, the team was named regional finalists winning $8,000.

Hudson Middle School's second-place team, "STEM Solvers," led by Sadie Hedding, Lilly Andersen, Annika Lautenbach and Ella Sutherland based their project on pumpkins. The team wondered what happens to unused pumpkins in the fall after Halloween is done. Through much research and engineering, the question led to designing a way to use unwanted pumpkins to condition soil to retain more water in areas of the country prone to flooding. The thought was that if the soil could retain more water, then the dangers of flooding could be lessened and it could also help farmers grow crops with less need for irrigation. The team also found that their method of conditioning soil would also work for house plants. Their creative project earned the team $2,000.

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