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Fulton Jr. High students named national finalists in the Bright Schools Competition

Lambda 450, from left: Milee Patel, Connor Fortenbery, Joshua Werner, Samuel Becker (Submitted Photo)
Lambda 450, from left: Milee Patel, Connor Fortenbery, Joshua Werner, Samuel Becker (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Cameron Shelton, Ryan Schmidtke, Cale Holan, Walter Thomas-Patterson (The LEDs) and Milee Patel, Samuel Becker, Connor Fortenbery, Joshua Werner (Lambda 540) along with Ms. Victoria Taylor, of Fulton Junior High School, were recently named national finalists in the inaugural Bright Schools Competition. The competition is a collaborative effort of the National Sleep Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association that encourages students in grades 6-8 to explore the correlation between light and sleep and how it influences student health and performance. The LEDs and Lambda 450 were two of the of 50 national finalist teams, chosen among 170 teams, made up of nearly 550 students from 63 schools.

The LED’s winning project, entitled “The Fight for Light,” is an awareness campaign that highlights the need for natural light during the day and minimal artificial light before sleep. The team built a website that shares research and pictures, stressing the impact light has on someone’s daily routine.

Lambda 450’s winning project, entitled “Blue Light Screen Protector,” was a proposal for a simple dual-layered screen protector that is able to filter out blue light. Team-member Milee Patel describes the two layers of the protector, “The first layer consists of PMMA that had been ethylinacally treated with yellow dye to produce a material capable of blocking blue light. The second layer was comprised of positive-negative junctioned sheets of graphene semiconductors. When the light reached the graphene, the top sheet became cooler than the sheet below, allowing it to transfer energy efficiently and allowing it to be used for battery life later.”

The LEDs, from left: Walter Thomas-Patterson, Cameron Shelton, Ryan Schmidtke, and Cale Holan (Submitted Photo)
The LEDs, from left: Walter Thomas-Patterson, Cameron Shelton, Ryan Schmidtke, and Cale Holan (Submitted Photo)

“The National Sleep Foundation is encouraged to see so many students interested in how light directly affects their sleep and academic performance,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “We congratulate the finalists on their innovative ideas and thoughtful projects. These students, teachers and parents will help bring about change in the way institutions view lighting and overall health.”

Under the mentorship of an adult coach/teacher, teams of two to four students identify, investigate, and research an issue related to light and sleep as it pertains to their community and/or young adolescents. Using scientific inquiry or engineering design concepts teams develop a prototype, create an awareness campaign, or write a research proposal for the competition. Each team then submits a written report detailing their project along with a three-minute video showcasing their investigation. Projects are evaluated on the basis of several criteria, including scientific accuracy, innovativeness, and potential impact.

“Congratulations to all of the national finalists who competed in the competition this year,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. David Evans. “We are extremely impressed with the quality of work and innovative ideas these students have exhibited as they explored science and found ways to benefit their communities and society as a whole.”

More information about the competition is available at http://brightschoolscompetition.org/.