Cedarbrook students Mina Rothberg, Maris Raisch and Andrew Marcus and their solar car “Kenneth Applewood” won the Sustainability category to lead a strong CBK showing at the 26th annual Junior Solar Sprint on Saturday, May 18. Eighty students built cars and 30 cars were registered for the competition, which took place at the Drexel University Quad in West Philadelphia.
Kaylee Brown, Jacob Spector, Kal Bosniak and their car “Working Title” finished second in the Sustainability category. “Kenneth Applewood” finished second In the Artistic Merit category, while Liam McCann and Ethan Keiner’s “Carage” finished third in the category. “Ultra Vegan” (Will Matsinger, Sam Bower and Jack Milley) and “The Cow Car” (Eden Saunder and Max Fulmor) took second and third, respectively, in the Technical Merit category. In the Speed category, “Fast Car” (Charles Stryker, Theo Peebles and Chad Wright) took second.
Hosted by the Philadelphia Solar Energy Association, in partnership with Drexel University, the Junior Solar Sprint is the culmination of an intensive, hands on STEM project for fifth through eighth graders. Thanks to the good weather, more than 150 middle schoolers from nine schools raced their model solar cars purely on solar power.
Students must master the basics of solar car design: How do electrical circuits work? What is a gear ratio and how does it influence speed? How do weight and alignment influence performance? How do I design the car for maximum performance with a solar panel versus battery power? Should I solder the motor or attach it with clips? Then come the really hard decisions: What should we name the car? How should we decorate it?
Tremendous amounts of math and science, as well as tons of imagination, teamwork and creativity go into car design, making math and science fun. The Junior Solar Sprint is open to all middle schools and after school programs in the Philadelphia region, including New Jersey and Delaware.