A team from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School is one of five state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. The other four Massachusetts schools are Dr. Paul Nettle Middle School, Fecteau Leary Jr. Sr. Alternative High School, Fuller Middle School and Newton North High School.

The Vineyard team, led by chemistry teacher Dr. Natalie Munn, focused on a hydroponics project as part of an already existing group at school called the MVironment Club, which visits Island elementary schools to engage younger students in engineering projects. This year the group planned to teach the younger students how to make two hydroponic systems. Ms. Munn found the idea so intriguing she entered the idea in the Samsung contest.

“I didn’t tell them I had submitted,” Ms. Munn said. “Honestly I didn’t think we had a shot.”

Approximately 4,100 teams entered nationwide, and five finalists were chosen from each state and Washington D.C. As one of the five finalists, the high school will receive two Galaxy Tabs. If they are selected as the state winner, the high school will receive $20,000 in technology. State winners are revealed in December. The competition then goes to the national level.

Zach Bresnick and Casey McAndrews, seniors at the regional high school and organizers of the MVironment club, are both completing independent studies on hydroponics. Zach explained that they are making two hydroponic systems.

“We’re looking forward to building mini ones for the kids to bring home and a big one for the schools,” he said.

They are hoping to find a teacher in each elementary school who would like to have an active vertical hydroponic system in their room. Casey explained that the water would run down the top of a vertical tube with plants anchored in the sides. When the water reached the bottom it would be pumped back to the top to complete the cycle.

“It’s basically a soil-less system,” Casey said.

Anna Cotton, the alternative education science teacher at the high school, is the other faculty advisor on the project. She said the students are lucky to have such a collaborative school and science department, including the horticulture career and technical education program.

“We’ve done stuff with IGI and did a lot in classes as well,” Ms. Cotton said. “They wanted to do something related to a problem, like renewable energy. Hydroponics seemed to fit.”

A proposal is due Monday for the next stage of the competition. Ms. Munn said the project is unique because it has a renewable energy component, as they plan to create solar charging stations to power the pumps of the active systems. But she also gave a nod to the competition, saying that Newton North has a vibrant engineering program.

“They will be massive competitors. I think we’re going to bring it, but they will do very well.”