WORKSHOP PLAN: Solar Car Races on a Budget
Updated: Jul 17, 2019
The team developed this custom workshop for our 1.5 hour camp workshops using the SunWind SolRun Classroom 15-pack car kit. It's perfect for students in grades 5 to 12, and can be made easier or harder as necessary.
Feel free to use our resources and materials. We just ask that you attribute our team wherever possible - include our name, Instagram handle, and website on all related posts. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the activity!
To build a solar car that performs the best in the solar races, given limited resources.
Students will work in pairs to first design, purchase the materials for, build, and finally race their solar cars using limited Solar Dollars and supplies. Economics and engineering combine in this activity to expose students to the engineering process, and the challenges that might be encountered along the way.
MATERIALS TO PURCHASE
SunWind Solar SolRun Kit - Materials for the activity
Lollipops or other prizes - Award winning teams
Pencils and paper - Used for the design step, and for children to draw out their designs
Hot glue guns - (optional) To glue components to the cars
Duct tape - (optional) To stick components on to the cars
Batteries - Backup in case it is raining or not sunny enough
Demo car - Assembled car to introduce the activity and hand around during construction
MATERIALS TO PRINT
Solar car shop catalogue (one per team + one for the shop)
Solar Hall of Fame (one per team)
Solar Dollars (25 per team + 10 for shop)
Labels for each of the materials (one per type of material). You may want to write these up yourselves on small pieces of paper, with a thick marker. Printable labels are not provided in this package.
Introductions – our names & QSDT
Car demo – call up two volunteers
Brief intro to energy and how energy is lost.
Challenge questions about percent of sun’s energy retained in the car.
Introduction to engineering problems and resources
Components of the car? Explain each part briefly.
Explain activity & solar awards
Design. Groups of 2-3 campers.
Hand out all starting materials to groups.
Hand out papers and do design drawing + team names
Construction of cars. Solar shop opens!
Solar car races!
Announce prize category winners – have them come up and get lollipops.
Debrief activity – what did you try out? What did you learn?
Discuss that engineering is an iterative process.
Photos of cars can be found here: https://www.qsdt.net/post/sunwind-solar-our-solar-car-designs
Make sure you present the activity with excitement and stick to the solar shop rules to make the activity more engaging!