Local students learn valuable lessons



Maggie Duncan and Kaylin Grissom stand by their poster

In November, the Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Innovative Solutions Consortium, launched the Student Led Ideation Challenge (SLIC).

SLIC presents students with a real world problem impacting local and global communities while teaching students 21st century skills needed for college and for the workforce.  This school year, students competed by creating solutions for issues in education, forestry and unmanned flight systems, more commonly known as drones.

Approximately 100 eighth grade students from Andrew Lewis Middle began the SLIC project in the fall.  Students selected their category (either education, forestry or drones), formed teams and began the multiple tasks required to move to the regional competition level.  Some of these tasks included researching their solutions, creating user profiles and summary statments, and collaborating with peers to manage time efficiently.  The components were submitted for judging in December 2016.  Many teams were invited to the regional competition and 55 students elected to continue with their work and the challenge.

To prepare for regionals, these 55 students had to create a science fair style display poster detailing their solution, develop flow charts and risk analysis surveys, develop and deliver a ten-minute presentation and participate in a five-minute question and answer session with industry judges, as well as audience members.  Many hours of preparation were required, but students remained engaged and invested in creating innovative solutions to their selected issue.

On March 7, students traveled to Virginia Tech for the regional competition.  These middle schoolers competed against high school teams and made a great showing!  Of the 55 ALMS students, 20 have been selected to move forward to the state competition at VCU on Saturday, April 1.   Over the next few weeks, the remaining competitors will prepare for the state competition by refining their presentations using feedback from the regional-level judges.

All students learned valuable life lessons during this process and subsequent competition.  Several students have expressed interest in participating in similar events when they move to the high school.

List of students traveling to state competition:


2nd Place team:  Megan Jennings and Jonathan Johnson

3rd Place team:  Kantner Eversole, Emily Goodpasture, Georgia Brown and Kaylin Young


2nd Place team:  Jacobie Spence, Noah Oldham, Jordan Lucas and Corey Hernandez

3rd Place team:  Zabien Grochowski, Riley Evans, Samson Hill, Drew Harless and Ethan Edwards


2nd Place team:  Soren French, Tiffany McLaughlin, Willow Casto, Laura Ann Kay and Jada Williams

For more information about the SLIC project and details, please visit the VDOE’s website http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/project-based-learning/slic/index.shtml

-Submitted by Megan All