Four students at Hilliard Weaver Middle School are spending their spring break trying to become finalists in the 2014 ExploraVision competition.
The team of Cole Hesler, Faris Rehman, Aaron Rogers and Sho Weinstein was honored March 19 at Weaver as the regional winner in the science competition, which is conducted by Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association. It is open to students in kindergarten to 12th grade.
The students won the 7-9 grade division in Region 4, which included 738 teams from schools throughout Ohio and eight other states. About 4,600 teams from the United States and Canada entered the 2014 competition.
Paul J. Cox Jr., a district sales manager for the Toshiba Corp., presented the four students with certificates and electronic tablets. Weaver Middle School also received a laptop computer.
The core mission of the ExploraVision program is to encourage excellence and motivate students in science, technology, engineering and math courses, Cox said.
"Thank you for being an inspiration to your students and to our potential scientists and engineers of the future," Cox said.
To become finalists in the competition, the students must now build a website and exhibit a prototype demonstrating how their idea -- a spray that can stop blood loss in an open wound until a patient reaches a hospital -- can become reality. They must complete this next step by April 3.
Finalists will be announced April 18 and honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. First-place winners in each grade level win a $10,000 savings bond. Students on second-place teams receive a $5,000 savings bonds.
Participation in the program is part of the curriculum for the students, who are all eighth-graders enrolled in a ninth-grade level science course, said their teacher, Jay Cauley.
"All my students had a lot of great ideas and I'm pleased with their efforts. I think it's even more special that we accomplished this in our first year," said Cauley, who for the first time is teaching two sections of an eighth-grade science honors class at Weaver.
As for the students, the three who attended the March 19 meeting -- Hesler, Rehman and Rogers -- said several project ideas were considered, including the development of a road surface that could generate electricity from vehicles traveling on it. But they said their winning idea was a true team effort.
Rehman said the name of the product, FOAM, was created first. The students later thought of a phrase to match the acronym: Fast Option for Applicable Medicine.
The biodegradable product would include a painkiller of some kind and be sprayed into an open puncture wound as soon as possible after the injury. The material would expand and congeal to stop bleeding until the patient could be transported to a hospital, the students said.
"I'm excited but a little scared, too, about all the work and getting ready to compete to be a finalist," Rehman said.
Hesler said he enjoyed working with his friends on the project.
"We'll be spending our spring break creating a presentation to demonstrate our theory," Rogers said.
Craig Vroom, principal of Weaver Middle School, said the effort of teachers and the participation of students in such competitions "provide students with extended opportunities for learning."