Columbia team secures state title in eCybermission

MADISON – ColumbiaGreen sixth-grade team at Columbia Elementary School secured first place in the state in the 15th annual eCybermission STEM Competition.

ColumbiaGreen members are Neha Chopade, Puja Chopade and Timothy Zhu. Students in grades 6-9 are eligible to participate.

The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program announced on April 27 that ColumbiaGreen had won. The Army program encourages students nationwide to develop solutions to real-world problems in their communities.

The eCybermission contest is one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives that the Army educational program sponsors. The National Science Teachers Association administers eCybermission to promote self-discovery and allow students to work with real-life STEM applications.

ColumbiaGreen worked with team advisor Beena Chopade to prevent plastic bottle caps from entering waterways and landfills. They also spread awareness in the community about proper recycling. The team then submitted their mission folder for volunteer, virtual judges to evaluate and score.

Teams like ColumbiaGreen who won first place at state will receive savings bonds for $1,000 per student.

“During the process of our research, observation and survey, we found that a very large percentage of our sample population recycled the caps incorrectly in the blue recycle bin,” Neha Chopade said. “Plastic caps were eventually trashed by the recycling agency. The majority of the small percentage of the sample population, who didn’t place plastic bottle caps in recycle bins, trashed the caps as well.”

ColumbiaGreen team decided to set up yellow bins to collect plastic bottle caps. “We’re hoping that if there are options of placing plastic bottle caps in containers, right here in our neighborhood, more people will use the yellow bins to recycle. Our team volunteers to take the yellow bins to Huntsville fire stations,” Chopade said.

“The yellow bins have been used as learning tools by many parents in the community for teaching their kids about recycling and being a friend of Mother Nature,” Chopade said. “We’re working with Madison Mayor Paul Finley, fire chief and City Council to set up something like Huntsville city has in place … for Madison fire stations to start accepting plastic bottle caps and ship them to Troy, Ala.”

Based in Arlington, Va., National Science Teachers Association is the world’s largest professional organization promoting innovation in science teaching and learning. For more information about eCybermission, visit ecybermission.com.

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