01.18.19 / Solve for Tomorrow

Solve for Tomorrow Students Rely on Samsung Tech to Complete STEM Projects

This year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is well underway and the 50 teams chosen as state winners are working extra hard and utilizing the Samsung technology they’ve already won to get their projects noticed leading into the national finalist selection.

(From L to R) Brooklyn Technical High School students Benjamin S. and Alison C., National Winners in the 2016 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest accept their team’s award with Ann Woo, Sr. Director of Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America.
(From L to R) Brooklyn Technical High School students Benjamin S. and Alison C., National Winners in the 2016 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest accept their team’s award with Ann Woo, Sr. Director of Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America.

At Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, California, physics teacher Paul Fang is currently guiding his students in the competition to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to create a solution to help control the Asian tiger mosquito problem in their community.

Fang’s students have proposed creating a mosquito trap, along with a mobile app that allows people to record and monitor mosquito activity in their neighborhood.

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“Our solution is to build an affordable, effective, environmentally safe, and child-safe mosquito trap,” explained Fang. The team’s inspiration came from seeing a bucket trap that does not require power or carbon dioxide. “We thought the bucket trap was a great idea, but one issue we learned from our local vector control agency, is that people forget to maintain it and it becomes a breeding ground for more mosquitos. So we’d like to modify the design so that it requires less maintenance,” Fang said.

Fang’s students are using the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with S Pen they won for their classroom by becoming a top 5 Solve for Tomorrow team in the state of California in November. The Galaxy Tab A will be used in building the mosquito-combating app as well as create the design for the trap, record data, take photos and record videos of the team’s progress. Eventually, Fang and his classroom hope to use a 3D printer to quickly and cheaply reproduce their prototype in order to truly scale the solution across the community.


 In Hacienda Heights, CA, Derek U., a senior at Los Altos High School, is part of the school’s Solve for Tomorrow team, guided by physics teacher Paul Fang. (Photo courtesy of Paul Fang)
In Hacienda Heights, CA, Derek U., a senior at Los Altos High School, is part of the school’s Solve for Tomorrow team, guided by physics teacher Paul Fang. (Photo courtesy of Paul Fang)

“The 3D printer would allow other people to recreate traps that we’ve developed. Sharing the designs for free will lower the cost of making these traps,” Fang said. “But we’d like to go further than this and make it biodegradable. In order to make it biodegradable, we would test different biodegradable 3D printer filament or biodegradable materials that are low cost and easily accessible to the community.”

Mr. Fang has high hopes his students’ hard work will pay off and the team makes it to the National Finalist stage of the contest to further help develop and excel with their STEM skills.

This was the experience of past Solve for Tomorrow teacher Richard Capozzi, whose students were one of three Grand Prize winners in the 2015-16 contest for their life-saving smartwatch app. Capozzi, an English teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York, explained that winning the contest helped bring his classroom’s technology up-to-date with the Grand Prize award that included 70 laptops.


This year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow team at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights became the California state winner in November for their proposed STEM project to help control the Asian tiger mosquito problem in their community.
This year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow team at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights became the California state winner in November for their proposed STEM project to help control the Asian tiger mosquito problem in their community.

“The prize certainly filled the need that we had for new technology –something that our tech-focused school’s English department in particular lacked,” Capozzi said. “Thanks to the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, our students use the computers very heavily for research, writing, and for submitting newspaper editorials.”

The prize has also opened up a greater field for productivity, Capozzi says. “We just finished a debate where we had the project shared on the cloud for all students to access, collaborate and share results.”

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Despite not being a STEM-related teacher himself, Capozzi said the social impact and educational aspect of the Solve for Tomorrow competition are felt throughout the school.

“Contests like this is where I foresee education going,” he explained. “Having the technology that students can access for a better educational experience will help them find solutions for tomorrow’s dire issues.”

“We have to tap into opportunities like Samsung Solve for Tomorrow that help inspire STEM curiosity in students and provide the latest technology resources to empower them to create solutions.”

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