Lee Co. middle school science project takes the national stage - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. middle school science project takes the national stage

Students, parents, and STEM teacher stand in front of their new device which will prevent tractors from tilting over. (Source: WALB) Students, parents, and STEM teacher stand in front of their new device which will prevent tractors from tilting over. (Source: WALB)
Four Lee County Middle School West students look at their new device for tractors. (Source: WALB) Four Lee County Middle School West students look at their new device for tractors. (Source: WALB)
As the tractor is tilting over, the students are being alerted before someone is injured. (Source: WALB) As the tractor is tilting over, the students are being alerted before someone is injured. (Source: WALB)
The small device lights up red when a tractor is close to falling over. (Source: WALB) The small device lights up red when a tractor is close to falling over. (Source: WALB)
Students look at their phones to view a message informing them of a tilting tractor. (Source: WALB) Students look at their phones to view a message informing them of a tilting tractor. (Source: WALB)
LEESBURG, GA (WALB) -

Four South Georgia middle school students are close to making their dreams come true, from a simple STEM class project that has allowed them to advance in a national competition. 

The project would not only allow the students from Lee County Middle School West to possibly win money for their school, but it has the potential to actually save lives. 

It's not often you find a tractor on a middle school's campus during school hours. 

On Friday, four students had the chance to test out their own tractor tool for a national Samsung competition called, "Solve for tomorrow." 

"These four students picked the idea of being able to work with some type of device or some way of helping people who didn't have a rollover protection system be safe," said Brian Soash, Science Teacher at Lee County Middle School West. 

So it all started in the classroom in September of this year, where students began to create a device that would detect when a tractor is about to tip over.  

"When it reaches an angle of risk of rollover, the LED light will light up yellow warning the driver.  And we are yet to put a speaker on it that will also make a loud sound to alert the driver," said Ian Harding, a student at Lee County Middle School West. 

Soash says he assigned the students to this project simply because of the amount of rollover injuries that have happened on farms recently. 

He says over half of all tractors in the country do not have rollover protection systems.

"We've had people in our family and friends who have died from tractor rollovers, so I wanted to make sure that this doesn't happen to anyone else," said Braylea Phillips, another student in the class.  

Braylea Phillips says her dad and grandfather own a farm in the county and that inspired her to want to keep them safe. Unfortunately, they lost a family member in a tractor rollover accident.

 "Who knows this could have possibly saved his life if it had came sooner. But they found him many hours later after it happened.  This will allow someone to get notified immediately..you know if something does happen," said Greg Phillips, parent of student Braylea Phillips. 

If the students win the competition, their technology could go on to save many lives.

For the next couple of months, the students will be working on a video of their device and display how it works. That video will then determine whether they will place in the top 10 nationally.

The students will find out if they advance in the competition at the beginning of March.

If they move on, they'll make a pitch for their invention in Washington D.C. and could possibly win another $25,000 or more in technology for their school.

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