• QSDT

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!


Click here to download the PDF file with the full workshop activity plan.


Objective

To build a solar car that performs the best in the solar races, given limited resources.


Description

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.

DETAILED STEPS

15 minutes

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


15 minutes

Design. Groups of 2-3 campers.

Hand out all starting materials to groups.

Hand out papers and do design drawing + team names


30 minutes

Construction of cars. Solar shop opens!


20 minutes

Solar car races!


10 minutes

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!

Click here to download the PDF file with the full workshop activity plan.

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