Clarendon kids take class project to big tech contest

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(Source: Fields Moseley, 3TV) (Source: Fields Moseley, 3TV)

Finding money for technology and other extras has been tough for schools. Many are applying for corporate grants and contests with the hopes of winning a type of education lottery. Clarendon Elementary in Phoenix is among them. The students studied noise pollution, and they are winning thousands of dollars for their school.

"One, two, three, breathe," said the music teacher as a dozen student blew into their horns.

Making music is a beautiful thing, but it is noisy.

Sixth-graders at Clarendon Elementary School embarked on a project to determine just how loud their school is, and how sound affects their studies and health.

"We used it to track the sound and measure how loud it is in every room," said Xavier Cuevas as he held a tablet with an app that measure sound.

"They don't really know," said Riana Serna. "Over time, even a little noise going to cause stress, heart disease."

"I had no idea what sound could do to you," said Quincy Robert. "I never knew it was dangerous and I would always be doing noisy things without any caution."

Using the tablet, they measured sound in their gym, classrooms and, of course, the band room and the class next door.

"Every day they keep on constantly hearing the band play and play and practice," said Cuevas of the noise in the classroom.

They started the project when they learned about the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest.

"That real world application made it more interesting to them," said master teacher Megan Corona.

She explained, the rules were simple, use math, science and technology to solve a problem.

"What do you think about sound?" Corona said. "And how does that affect you guys as learners?"

After they won in Arizona, Samsung gave the students and teachers a camera and tablets and a laptop so they could produce a video about the project.

Clarendon is now in the final 15.

"There's like high-schoolers and charter schools and prep college," said Cuevas of their competition.

Part of this project was to come up with solutions. One of the things they would like to do is plant trees and shrubs along a fence line to reduce road noise. They don't have the money for that yet, but they do have the money to put up acoustic foam in the band room.

"Our proposal was acoustic foam tiles, and those absorb the sound a lot," explained Robert.

And the students started an educational campaign on campus. They produced public service announcements and took them to the board of education.

"Tell kids turn it down or quiet down, Serna said with a laugh.

The end result was lowering the volume at school and winning money for technology through the contest.

Clarendon already won $35,000 for new technology through the contest. The students and teachers leave for New York this week to present their project for the grand prize. You can help them by voting for their project online at