February 8, 2012


Video nets Groton school $70K in electronics

TechJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Groton High School 10th-graders Chelsea Buckley, right, and Allisa Bell view on Tuesday a prize winning video promoting the building of a sustainable dwelling that their teacher, Chad Devoe, is planning to build in Freeville.

Staff Reporter

GROTON — A video about using science concepts for a cleaner environment has landed Groton Middle-High School among 12 finalists in a nationwide contest that has already brought the district $70,000 in electronics.
Groton science teacher Chad Devoe and 10 of his 10th grade students produced a 2-minute video that focuses on the “Earthship” he and his wife Courtney plan to build over the summer in Freeville.
Devoe entered Samsung’s second-annual Solve for Tomorrow contest in October, submitting a video, along with more than 1,400 other schools nationwide.
Devoe and his wife were already planning to build an Earthship in Freeville. He said he learned of the Samsung contest online and thought their idea fit the theme perfectly.
“We literally are cleaning up the environment,” Devoe said. “It’s been the perfect thing to involve the students in.”
An Earthship is an off-the-grid living structure made entirely of recycled materials that gets all of its water and heating by natural means, Devoe said.
In November, Groton and 11 other schools were named as finalists — bringing the districts about $70,000 worth of Samsung electronics.
The Groton students had a creative, hands-on approach to their project that was a “great example” of the right kind of contest entry, according to David Steel, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy of Samsung Electronics North America.
Devoe’s off-the-grid build includes making a foundation constructed with tires, walls out of bottles and cans, floors built from broken tiles and plates, and water recycling.
Ten of Devoe’s students pitched in to make the video and gave Devoe their feedback.
“I think it’s cool how the house gets energy and recycled rainwater,” said Groton 10th-grader Alissa Bell. “I also like how the windows are slanted — the sun stays out in the summer and keeps it cool and it goes in the windows in the winter and heats it.”
Bell’s classmate Chelsea Buckley said she enjoyed learning how to reuse all sorts of material to make something new.
“You wouldn’t think you could build a house with bottles and tires,” Buckley said.
The Groton school district was awarded a laptop computer, camcorder and software after making it among 25 schools as a preliminary finalist in the Samsung contest in August.
“We were really grateful just for that, then we got selected for the top 12,” Devoe said.
Voting to narrow the candidates to a final five is available online through March 12. The school that gets the most votes wins.
Go to, to cast a vote.
If Groton makes the final five, the district could win a total of $100,000 in Samsung electronics and a trip to Washington, D.C.
Devoe also plans to involve the Groton community and school district in the off-the-grid build, which he plans to live in when finished.
He plans to give a presentation Feb. 15 in the middle-high school cafeteria, and also screen the documentary “Earthships: New Solution.” Those who attend will have a chance to ask Devoe questions about his project.


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