Maine Students Create Innovative Solutions to Real-World Problems in 2020 MLTI Prototype Challenge; Winners Announced

The Maine Department of Education held a Prototype Challenge this year. An educational activity for students involved with the MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) Student Conference, the post conference prototype challenge offered students the opportunity to work in teams to develop an innovative product that solves a real-world problem defined in Maine DECDs 2030 report.

Each year, over one thousand students and educators gather for the MLTI Student Conference to engage in learning related to technology. This year, due to the (COVID-19) pandemic the Maine Department held the conference virtually.

Building off of their experience at the virtual conference, students developed an innovation in one of the five challenge categories defined in the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s 2030 report. As part of the challenge, student teams researched, explored, and applied their conference skills to create a prototype of a product that solves a real-world problem defined in the Report. Using “Design Thinking” framework, student teams created a prototype in the form of an executive summary, slide deck, demo of the product, all three forms, or some other representation of the innovative solution to the real-world problem. The projects were examined and evaluated by a team of experts at CATES, an education company that focuses on helping people solve social problems in a new and different way

Prototype Challenge Winners:

First Place

Helping Heart by Audrey Tucker and Rowan Lambert-Ellis, Wayne Elementary School. Fruit & vegetable trading cards that fosters community and inclusion through gaming and growing produce.

Helping Heart by Audrey Tucker and Rowan Lambert-Ellis, Wayne Elementary School. Fruit & vegetable trading cards that fosters community and inclusion through gaming and growing produce.

Audrey Tucker
Aubrey Tucker, 4th Grade,
Wayne Elementary School
Rowan Lambert-Ellis, 4th Grade,
Wayne Elementary School

Second Place

Apples to Energy by Rowan Jackson Sanborn, Beatrix Foster, and Cailan Barton from Orono Middle School, Orono. A juice press that uses bruised fruit to generate electricity, compost tea, and profits from the sales of freshly-squeezed juice.
Apples to Energy by Rowan Jackson Sanborn, Beatrix Foster, and Cailan Barton from Orono Middle School, Orono. A juice press that uses bruised fruit to generate electricity, compost tea, and profits from the sales of freshly-squeezed juice.

Beatrix Foster,
Orono Middle School
Rowan Jackson Sanborn,
Orono Middle School
Cailan Barton, Orono Middle School

Third Place

Eco-Friendly Renewable Energy by Carter Boulanger from Sacopee Valley Middle School, Hiram. A super wind mill that combines a hydro energy plant, windmills, and solar panels to make an even more powerful renewable energy source.

Carter Boulanger, Sacopee Valley Middle School

Honorable Mention:

  • Match a Maine Pound by Aubri Bosco and Delaney Evans from James F Doughty School, Bangor
  • Solar Panel Incentives by Joseph Bowman from Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Skowhegan
  • NRGized by Nolan Ainsworth from Central Middle school, Corinth

A total of 10 students representing 6 teams received $1,000 scholarships toward tuition at the University of Maine-Orono for their submissions.  The University of Maine scholarships were presented to students by Don Hummels, Professor and Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department at the University of Maine during an award ceremony via Zoom on June 4, 2020.