Native fish species, underwater robotics, and inspiring youth from northeast Michigan combine for one amazing environmental STEM project competing for the national Teach for the Planet Challenge.

Designing underwater robots, wading rivers with nets, exploring invasive species issues, studying fisheries habitat while out on Lake Huron, and collaborating alongside Great Lakes scientists. These experiences reflect a normal day at school with elementary students of Ella White Elementary in northeast Michigan. Make sure you vote for them to show your support and to increase their odds of collecting $10,000 for more forward-thinking, hands-on classroom learning.

Teach for the Planet Challenge is a national competition looking for innovative examples of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Responding to this call, Bob Thomson’s Ella White Elementary fifth graders from Alpena proudly put forward their student-designed research projects. Their environmental STEM project Engineered Lake Trout Delivery System was selected as a finalist and is now competing for the chance to win $10,000! Winners are selected by popular vote, and you can help them by voting today and daily until March 11.

When you visit the site, be sure to click “Select” underneath the photo of the project you’d like to vote for.

Through this project, students are raising native lake trout eggs in their classroom, connected with a Lake Huron reef habitat restoration project. With Great Lakes scientists, they are studying Great Lakes ecosystems, fish habitat issues and plan to eventually release the lake trout fry this spring using underwater robots. Applying technology and creative engineering minds, students used a 3-D printer to produce a system (adapting a plastic pop bottle) to release their young lake trout to their underwater reef habitats.

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