• STEAM Class
    March 13, 2018

    Clear Creek Middle School STEAM class finalist in Samsung contest

    Students receive rave reviews for emergency escape hatch designed to save lives

    It's not every day that you get the opportunity to change the world. It may sound like a big feat, but Clear Creek Middle School’s STEAM class is on its way.

    Led by teacher Tom Erickson, this group of students has designed an emergency escape hatch for a residential home. The design is a national finalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a program that encourages teachers and students to solve for real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).

    The students’ hatch is designed to assist people who find themselves holed up in their attics due to rising floodwaters. Currently, escape hatches can be found on the roofs of businesses, but this class wanted to make sure the lifesaver was available to everyone. In fact, it’s especially important for homes to have an escape hatch because when a flood hits, a person’s first instinct is to seek higher ground. When that higher ground ends up being an attic, there are often no windows or doors to allow an individual to signal for help. The hatch would eliminate this problem

    The students designed the hatch so that it’s easy to use, large enough for anyone to fit through, and includes built-in LED lights to alert rescuers. During a hurricane, rescuers often have a big struggle finding people in need of rescue.

    The student group partnered with Advanced Metal & Wire Products in Fairview on the project. The class recently took a fieldtrip to the local business to see how it would be made.

    The visit to the metal shop also provided an opportunity for students like Sara Rash to imagine what it might be like to work as an engineer one day.

    “Going to the metal shop, I was in heaven,” said Rash.

    Seventh grade student Ondreka Magana is excited to be working on a project he finds meaningful.

    “A device that would be on your roof to basically save your life—I really thought it was cool,” said Magana.

    Erickson submitted the project to Samsung's “Solve for Tomorrow” Contest, and it has already been named one of 10 national finalists and been awarded $75,000 in technology. The Samsung contest encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

    If the school is one of three grand-prize winners, it will receive $150,000 in technology. The school is also in the running to win an online voting contest that’s open to the public. If they get the most votes, they will be awarded another $15,000 in technology. Individuals can vote HERE for the school through April 2, 2018.

    In the meantime the class is preparing to send two students to New York in April to perform an in-person pitch to Samsung. Samsung will then announce the 3 grand-prize winners who will each receive a $150,000 technology package for their school. 

    Congratulations to this incredible class, and stay tuned for more updates on their progress!