Student Solutions Challenge Expands Statewide

The program that invited Loudoun County students to come up with solutions to their schools’ most challenging problems will now be offered at every school system in Virginia.

The Student Led Ideation Challenge will give 387,000 Virginia high schoolers a platform to pitch their creative solutions.
The competition is put on by Leesburg-based Innovative Solutions Consortium and the Virginia Department of Education. The Innovative Solutions Consortium’s founder Ken Spedden describes the challenge as “a science fair on steroids.”

In September, students will receive a challenge that they are encouraged to solve. They will work on their solutions throughout the school year, with the guidance of teachers, before presenting their ideas in May. The top eight projects will be presented at a one-day public event, and from there the students’ ideas could become functional prototypes.

“This is another level of education for students—it’s about them coming up with solutions that impact the world they live in,” Spedden said.

Spedden has heard from top educators in 10 other states who want to host similar science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based challenge competitions, and his hope is to see every school system in the nation take part in the competition. “This could change how students engage nationally in STEM,” Spedden said.

More details on the ideation challenge are expected to be unveiled tonight at Made in NOVA event, put on by the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development and the Innovative Solutions Consortium. It is held from 5 to 9 p.m. at Leesburg Executive Airport, 1001 Sycolin Rd SE, Leesburg. View details here.

See a photo gallery from that event here.

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