West students win contest

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Submitted to the Optic

A group of west Las Vegas High School Students won best in show in the poster category and best of show in the high school category for their poster that advocated for Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop alternative pesticides that are non-toxic to honeybees as part of LANL’s 70th anniversary for its services to the nation.

This competition asked students and their teachers in grades 2 to 12 to use the STEM method to develop ideas in order to solve everyday issues that LANL could later work on in the next 70 years.

The Stem Method consists of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics; the method requires students to have a broader understanding and knowledge of science. By using this method, students acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in the global economy in the 21st century.

The team from West Las Vegas High School,  mentored by Christine Rodriguez, a STEM and chemistry teacher, decided to try and help resolve the current issue of honeybees dying around the world because of pesticides used on crops.

The team took on this issue because of the great importance honeybees have on the environment. Without honeybees, crops could not be pollinated, thus creating a lack of food for humans and livestock.

Currently, some pesticides around the world have caused honeybees to be disoriented, causing them to become lost and not be able to find their way back to their hives, ensuing imminent death. This team of students looked at current pesticides being used on crops. Then they looked at the chemicals that make up the pesticides. At this stage, the students looked at each chemical in order to see whether it was poisonous to honeybees.

Finally, the list of chemicals poisonous to honeybees was placed  on the poster along with suggestions for LANL.  

Twenty one teams entered the LANL STEM Challenge and were asked to create a poster, shoot a video, write an essay, or design an app that describes a future LANL science or technology project. The top middle and high school teams received $300 for their class.

Meanwhile, the best of  show team won either a Kindle Fire or an iPad Mini.

The prizes were provided by Los Alamos National Security.