The Verizon Challenge

in Environmental learning by

By Jack Thompson, Logan Wood, and Henry Kasulka

Four years ago, Henry’s dad, Shawn Kasulka, started a FIRST LEGO League team. Henry Kasulka, Logan Wood and I (Jack Thompson) all joined. Ruby Singer and Jacob McCoy also joined, along with some other kids. For each year of FLL, you must come up with an innovative solution to a real-world problem. In our third year, we designed an app to try and reduce trash by telling people where to take recyclable items that they can’t just put in the recycling bin. However, we didn’t have the resources to actually make the app we designed. Then, this year, we learned about the Verizon challenge, and how it would give us the chance to make it all real.

East Montpelier students Henry Kasulka (Grade 6), Ruby Singer (Grade 8), Jacob McCoy (Grade 8), Logan Wood, (Grade 6), and Jack Thompson (Grade 6), who were recently recognized for their innovation and creativity!

We participated in a challenge, sponsored by Verizon. 1,800 groups in Vermont, including ours, would design an app and make a short video that would be inspected by Verizon. Whoever made the best video and app design would move on the next challenge: the regional challenge. All of the winning apps in the region (ours being New England) would be compared, and the best would be selected to move on to the national challenge, and then the winner of that would be given the resources to make the app. Unfortunately we did not make it past the regional competition. But there is still another chance! One additional app idea will also be a winner. People can vote for the app design they like best, and the one with the most votes will be the fan favorite winner. But you’re probably wondering about the details of our app.

For the Verizon App Challenge, we submitted our idea called Reuse-It. It is an idea for an app that would allow you to search up an item or any piece of junk you didn’t need. The app would tell you where to take it and what you can do with it. If you turned on your location, it would calculate the closest place you can drop off that item. We were also thinking of some cool additional features, like the “Junk Market:” a place where you could sell your junk that you had no more use for. We were also thinking about something we would call “Remake-It”: a system where you could publish a DIY tutorial on how to make something cool out of ordinary junk. Our last feature we were thinking of was a roadside trash tracker. Once verified, just tap the screen where you find trash, and it will mark the area. Then everyone will know that the area is full of junk.

If you want to vote for our app, text “REUSE” to 22333. If we get the most votes, we can make the app a reality to benefit our community. We have already won $5,000 for the EMES PTNO, and we’re hoping to achieve even greater levels with our app. Remember: don’t throw it out. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

To watch a video of their news presentation, click here.

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