Inventing Tomorrow

Inventing Tomorrow

Inventing Tomorrow film

WXXI Education has pulled together resources from Inventing Tomorrow and supplemental educational tools from PBS LearningMedia that focus on the following topics: environmental activism, environmental engineering, engineering design process, problem solving, citizen science, and more. 

The film Inventing Tomorrow follows six young scientists from Indonesia, Hawaii, India, and Mexico who propose innovative solutions to fix some of the most complex environmental issues facing humanity today – right in their own backyards. The students are preparing original scientific research projects they will defend at ISEF, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Considered the Olympics of high school science fairs, ISEF is the largest gathering of high school scientists in the world, attracting approximately 1,800 finalists from over 75 countries. All the finalists want to do a good job, but the heart of the story isn’t about whether they go home with an award. 

WXXI Education had the opportunity to host a Virtual Educator Town Hall focused on sharing the educational tools and curricular pieces that were developed for educators to utilize with young people. We have collected the resources from our virtual town hall and posted them below in hopes that classrooms, after-school and out-of-school programs, libraries, clubs, and more will use these tools to motivate young people to being making environmental change and solve problems in their own communities. 

Education Materials | About the Film | FREE DVDs


Education Materials


Educators: Get a FREE DVD copy of the film for your learning space!

Thanks to a partnership with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, a physical DVD with both the 87 & 55 minute version of INVENTING TOMORROW is available at NO CHARGE for educators and non-profit organizations based within the United States and Canada. Complete Good Docs Inventing Tomorrow Form. Good Docs is also offering streaming links for 14-day periods for classroom use. Contact info@gooddocs.net.


About the Film

Motivated by their desire to protect their homes and their future, we watch Sahithi take water samples from contaminated lakes near her home in India, and Jared dig up dirt in a public park in Hawaii. Nuha and Intan board illegal pirate mining ships in Indonesia; while Jose, Fernando and Jesus test their experiments in a lab in Mexico. We meet the students’ dedicated university mentors, their parents, grandparents, and siblings, as they compare the world their elders grew up in to the stark reality of the world they’re inheriting. Despite their courage and tenacity, our young scientists are still teenagers with adolescent dilemmas of their own, and we witness each one’s unique emotional journey on their way to the fair.

The students travel to Los Angeles from all corners of the world to participate in ISEF 2017, and finally get to meet their peers who are just as bright and determined as they are, competing in every category of STEM, from Robotics to Computer Science. Throughout the week we watch them participate in social activities, field trips, and the gauntlet of judging. No matter who wins a prize, they all make connections many call life changing.

After the fair, we follow our characters home. Some continue their current project at the university level, while others face economic challenges to continue their education. As they integrate their experience of ISEF into the next phase of their lives, they realize they’re not alone, and join a community of peers who believe in a shared vision of environmental stewardship and collective action. These young scientists invite a worldwide role reversal, where the youth show us the way towards a more sustainable future.

About the Students

  • JARED GOODWIN - Age at Filming: 15 Hilo, Hawaii USA Project: Arsenic Contamination Through Tsunami Wave Movement in Hawaii: Investigating the Concentration of Heavy Metals in the Soil from the 1960 Hilo, Hawaii Tsunami. Jared passionately documents his love for his home of Hawaii through nature photography. His project studies the contamination of a local pond where arsenic was dumped by a company for nearly 30 years. Inspired by his family, who survived two major tsunamis in Hilo, he developed a new model to study tsunami debris patterns, so he could track the disbursement of arsenic into local neighborhoods. He wants to use his project to motivate state officials to create more accurate safety measures for land use zoning.

  • SAHITHI PINGALI – Age at Filming: 16 Bangalore, INDIA Project: An Innovative Crowd-Sourcing Approach To Monitoring Fresh Water Bodies After seeing the lake behind her home burst into flames, Sahithi decided to combine her love for science and social activist skills to create an innovative method for citizens to gather and share data about the severe water pollution in Bangalore. In order to protect her local lakes, she is developing technological solutions to amplify citizen voices, in an effort to stop the dumping of raw sewage into the watershed.

  • SHOFI LATIFA NUHA ANFARESI & INTAN UTAMI PUTRI - Age at Filming: 16 Bangka, INDONESIA Project: Bangka’s Tin Sea Sand - Fe3O4 as A Removal of Pb(II) Ions in By-Product of Tin Ore Processing (Tailing) Nuha and Intan live on an island in Indonesia called Bangka, which is the world’s 2nd largest source of tin ore. They have seen legal and illegal tin mining expand to the point where the bright blue waters around their home are now brown, and have observed the local fish and coral reefs dying. They are developing a filter that would process the effluents from the dredging process to protect the fragile oceanic ecosystem of their island, allowing the local fish supply to flourish again.

  • FERNANDO MIGUEL SÁNCHEZ VILLALOBOS, JESÚS ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ ARANDA, JOSE MANUEL ELIZADE ESPARAZA - Age at Filming: 17, 17, 18 Monterrey, MEXICO Project: Photocatalytic ceramic paint to purify air Fernando, Jesus and José live in one of the most polluted city of Latin America: Monterrey, Mexico. After a lifetime of riding diesel-powered public buses that exposed them to harmful pollutants, they decided to try and address local air quality as well as global warming. While holding part-time jobs – and riding the bus several hours to meet with their university mentor – they invented a photocatalytic paint. This paint could remove two pollutants that contribute to global warming from the air: sulphur dioxide and titanium dioxide. The first in their families to attend university, the three friends were ecstatic to visit the United States when they attended ISEF. 
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