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MBJH Students Named Design for Change USA Semi-Finalists



MBJH - Students from Mountain Brook Junior High received national recognition for design thinking projects in the 2019 Design For Change USA challenge. After reviewing nearly 300 student projects, the Design for Change USA Team announced that student-led project, Solaris, was selected as a 2019 DFC USA Semi-Finalist, while two other MBJH projects, Solar Powered School and Savoring Sand, received Honorable Mention.


During the 2018-2019 school year, the students were in 8th grade English classes taught by Theresa Shadrix. Shadrix was an inaugural IDEO Teachers Guild Fellow in 2017-2018 and was a Teachers Guild “It Takes A Team” Ambassador in 2018-2019. She incorporates design thinking in her classroom curriculum and facilitates students in the creative problem-solving methodology. “I’m very proud of my students. They not only embraced empathy in problem-solving a global problem, they were also able to gain valuable skills in working as a team,” Shadrix said. “The entire process was challenging for them and every student who worked on projects for Design for Change USA were forced out of a comfort zone.”


2019 Design For Change USA Semi-Finalist


By Cromwell Estes, Davis Gray, Elanor Kinderman, and Laura Joy Simpson

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

By bringing solar power to hospitals, the power will be less expensive and more reliable than using generators.  Using cell system boosters and charging stations that are solar powered, the cell service will be much stronger and at a much lower price. A passive DAS (Distributed Antenna System) would amplify the cellular signal from nearby cell towers. And by having a passive DAS and solar power combination, hospitals would have a cheaper and more reliable way to improve their patients access to communication.


2019 Design For Change USA Honorable Mention

Solar Powered School

by Jackson Young, Ilana Touger, Gili Weintraub, Ann Morton, and Miggy Grant

Our goal is to create an environmentally conscious school. We would like to fabricate a school that is not only run by solar power, but produces an educational basis for other schools to do the same. We hope that our solar powered school will prompt our city into becoming more aware of their carbon footprints.


2019 Design For Change USA Honorable Mention

Savoring Sand

by Anna Frances Adams, Steve Allen, Joaquin Bernal, John Colvin, Moira Dowling, Walker Ray, Zachary Touger (Idea Innovator)

Over 80% of pollution that enters the oceans come from land, but a large amount of this pollution are pesticides from human use. We have created a solution for this critical problem. It’s called sand gardening, which uses sand as a natural substitute for the harsh chemical infested soil. Using solar panels to separate the salt from the ocean water to create a natural irrigation system to replenish the local plants in the garden. These gardens could be put on local beaches in the area and use insidious plants. Local communities would be able to go to the nearest sand garden, and add or take crops from the garden.  To make sure that the plants in the garden have safe and clean water, we have thought of a way to filter ocean water using solar panels, and use that water as a way to give the crops the nutrients they need. The ocean water would flow into underground containers with parabolic solar panels (concave shaped) above ground. The solar panels will heat the water to high temperatures, and boil the salt out to create fresh clean water. Once filtered, the water will leave the containers and flow into the garden to give the plants the water they need to survive.  Many types of fruits and  vegetables can grow using sand instead of soil like carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, corn, lettuce, corn, and squash. Using this innovative solution, we can hopefully drastically reduce the amount of pesticides that enter our oceans.



DFC has partnered with the World’s Largest Lesson to address the 17 Global Sustainable Development (SDG) Goals as determined by the United Nations. The DFC experience is carefully crafted to ensure a focus on the Global Goals at each of the four steps in the DFC process. Young people are encouraged to think globally while acting locally. Using this framework, young people are tasked with addressing the UN Global Goals, while designing new and innovative solutions for the world's most pressing challenges.

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