Written by Daniel Offner Saturday, 14 June 2014 00:00
This year, Google asked students in grades K-12 to doodle an inventive way to make the world a better place as part of its national Doodle 4 Google competition. On Monday, June 9, Google officially changed its homepage to the winning doodle, “Back to Mother Nature” designed by 11-year-old Island Trees Memorial Middle School art student Audrey Zhang.
For Zhang, a three time Doodle 4 Google finalist, perseverance was key to winning the national competition. Receiving the most online votes, Zhang was presented with the grand prize for her artwork, which was selected among more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and five national group winners.
“To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier,” said Zhang. “It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.”
Working with the different elements of Audrey’s design, Google helped her animate her artwork, making sure they twinkled each light, cleaned the water just right and took extra care for the illustration’s dragons—about whom she is also
writing a novel.
“We thought she might consider it a pretty cool gig, but alas, Audrey eventually had to fly back to New York with the $30,000 college scholarship and $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for her school,” the company stated.
“We were also so inspired by her doodle invention that google.org donated $20,000 in her name to a charity, which provides clean water to schools in Bangladesh.”
Last month, Google flew Zhang and the other state finalists to the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for some educational workshops and the awards ceremony.
During the ceremony, Discovery Education stopped by the Google headquarters where they created three videos and activity packs for teachers to introduce students K-12 to the creative process.
Discovery Education has designed and assembled three activity packs, each of which include four activities for students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 which are designed to help students warm up their creative muscles for next year’s Doodle 4 Google contest.