By Karen Metcalf, Science Teacher
9. The beaming smile when the solar panel is first connected and the wheels spin.
8. You see hints of nervous anticipation and excitement when the announcer calls for car number 51.
7. Your kid’s team brings home a trophy for 3rd place in the race division.
6. You can see gears turning in their brains as they check out 70 cars and their diverse designs.
5. You witness a team working together to repair and fix serious mechanical difficulties during race time.
3. You watch eight middle schoolers boogie boarding at Cape Canaveral in a pre-race celebration.
2. Full engagement in the solar car process from a design idea to model building, failure, new ideas, modifying – even between heats in the state competition. All of this on their own.
1. You over hear them saying “I think I’ll do this again next year”.
If that doesn’t convince you, just ask Cami, Sydney, Oscar (winners of third place in the 8th grade race division), Abdel, Avery, Chris, Zach R. (quarter-finalists in the 8th grade race division), Noah, and Zachary J. (heat winners in the 6th grade division). They spent Saturday at the Energy Whiz Olympics in Cocoa at the Florida Solar Energy Center. They, and all of the students who built cars, are winners. A special thanks is also due to Charlie Whitmer, who mentored these teams throughout the process.
Photos by Karen Metcalf