Schools race to solar-powered victory

Sixty pupils from secondary schools in Kent participated in a car rally with a difference! The Solar Car Challenge Competition, aimed at girls and boys aged 13-14 took place at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) on 7 July.
Directed by a team of University ambassadors from the School, pupils worked in school teams to compete in a final rally of solar powered cars having previously spent the last six weeks researching, designing and testing their prototypes with guidance from the ambassadors. Each team had customised and adopted their model to make it unique in style and appearance. Professional engineers judged the cars in three different competitions; speed, performance on an incline and design innovation, with prizes being awarded to the winners of each category.
Pupils gained experience of team building, problem solving skills, a practical application of science and technology as well as insight into solar power and the exciting world of design and engineering.
The final competition was not only a great success but a fun and engaging activity for young engineers of the future to expand their scientific knowledge as well as learn about renewable energy concepts.
Professor Sarah Spurgeon, Head of School commented: “We were really pleased to see so many children from Kent enjoying participating in the Solar Car Challenge, which has been running in other regions for a number of years. The technical ability and commitment of the participating students was fantastic. Working in partnership with our colleagues at Canterbury Christ Church University, EDA very much look forward to hosting the competition next year.”
Participating schools included: The Harvey Grammar School, Simon Langton Grammar School For Boys, Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School, St Anselm’s Catholic School. Also entering the challenge was a group of children from Kazakhstan who were visiting the Langton Boys School and were delighted to participate in this practical project.
The Solar Car Challenge is supported by STEMNET and was run jointly with Canterbury Christ Church University, the local STEMNET hub. STEMNET aims to increase young people’s choice and chances through science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Judges team included:
Dr. Ajay Sharman, STEMNET Regional Director.
Dr. Kostas Sirlantzis, School of Engineering and Digital Arts, University of Kent
Mrs. Jenny Young, Programme Manager (Engineering) – National HE STEM Programme (Royal Academy of Engineering)
Mr. Peter Kean, Instro Precision Ltd.
The teams were judged on Innovation and Design and Speed and the overall winner was
the ‘E-Car’ Team from The Harvey Grammar School with ‘The Beast’ from Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School as runner-up.