A team of Locust Valley Intermediate School fifth-graders has been named the national winners in the TOSHIBA ExploraVision competition. Roarke Creedon, Shawn Kapoor and Matthew Klein won first place in the grade 4-6 category. They will each be awarded a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond and an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. with their families and their coach Anne Joyce and mentor Maria Sidor. 

These innovate young researchers created the project, Plant Power, the Super-Hydrophobic Lotus Leaf, which proposes to make airplane flight safer through a de-icing/anti-icing innovation. It involves nano-imprinting the lotus leaf pattern onto an airplane’s exterior. The surface of the lotus leaf repels water and the students proposed the use of the leaf’s design to repel the water off an airplane’s surface, rather than the chemicals currently used. 

More than 4,000 teams entered the TOSHIBA competition and after being named regional winners, the LVI team created a website and a video based on their project. In the video, the boys act out the roll of an airplane pilot, who cannot take off due to icing on the airplane’s wings, and of the scientists Cassie and Baxter, who identified the exact height, angle, and density of cone-like structures that give a surface super-hydrophobic properties.  The project website, which incudes the video, can be viewed at http://msidor7.wix.com/plantpower.  This media component was judged against the five other regional winners in their grade level at the final level of the TOSHIBA competition. As regional winners, Roarke, Shawn and Matt, each won a TOSHIBA tablet. 

Mrs. Joyce said, “Placing first at the national level could not have been achieved without the hard work and creative problem solving of the team. This project required in-depth research and the understanding of very complex ideas.” Mrs. Joyce added that “this type of competition is consistent with the library and technology curriculums here in our school district. “When our students apply their research and analysis skills in a nationwide competition, it helps to broaden their view of the world. Students see that their ideas are possible, that the future is within reach and they can play an active role in moving our world forward. ”

The team was invited to the office of County Executive Edward P. Mangano where they were awarded certificates of recognition and met with Mr. Mangano. The boys explained their project to him and had the opportunity to take photos with him in his office. Next, the team will travel to Washington D.C. June 4-7 for a gala award weekend. They will visit Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress, as well as present their project during a science showcase.  Winners will be formally recognized at an awards banquet during their visit.

TOSHIBA is about innovating – looking at the world and trying to figure out how to make one part of it healthier, cleaner and safer. TOSHIBA describes the ExploraVision competition as an opportunity for students to expand their imaginations and have fun while developing an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Participating students developed and researched solutions to different problems in the world. They wrote detailed research papers that discussed their ideas. Students at Bayville Elementary, Locust Valley Middle School and Locust Valley High School also competed in this year’s TOSHIBA ExploraVision competition.