Bayville Intermediate School students have been named national winners in the Toshiba ExploraVision competition for the second consecutive year. Two teams of students were named regional winners in March and both teams have now earned the top prize for their innovative projects. After being named regional winners, each team was required to create a website and video depicting their invention, which were used to choose the national winners. 

The students competed against thousands of young scientists from across the country and are among only four teams to earn the national prize this year. They won an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. this June and will also each receive a $10,000 U.S. savings bond. 

One of the participants, fourth-grader John Hartnett was a member of the winning team in 2016 as well, making this his second national prize in two years.

In the K-3 category, a team of third graders won the national prize for their idea to create Float Tee’s, shirts made from woven fabric that has buoyant properties. The concept is intended to prevent drownings in children under five-years-old, since drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in that age group. The students felt that life vests and other personal flotation devices are bulky, making them uncomfortable for children to wear and difficult to pack for a family vacation. The team is researching the properties that keep plankton afloat and applying those properties to their invention. Coached by librarian Paige Coppola and mentored by teaching assistant Donna DeJesu, the team is made up of Emilia Bayerlander, Evie Bergman, Lucia Connolly and Adhvaith Sreenivas.

A team of fourth graders won the national prize in the grade 4-6 category for their idea to create robotic bivalves to filter PCBs from contaminated rivers. These cancer-causing chemicals are found in the sediments of riverbeds and ocean floors. Normal dredging to remove the contamination brings 10 percent of the PCBs back into the water. The team, inspired by advances in biomimicry, proposes that the robotic bivalves would function like living clams, mussels or oysters, sinking to the bottom of the riverbed, removing the harmful PCBs and floating back to the top without harming wildlife. Cyclodextrin sponges would collect the PCBs, which are known to break down faster when bonded to cyclodextrins. This ethical invention targets the Hudson River but can be used in other rivers that have PCB contamination. Coached by Paige Coppola and mentored by teaching assistant Debbie McKillen, the team consists of John Hartnett and Matthew Santibanez.

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. Participating students developed and researched solutions to different problems in the world and wrote detailed research papers that highlighted their ideas.