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School: DeWitt Middle School
Project Title: Junior Solar Sprint
Subject(s): Science, Technology, and Mathematics
Project: Creativity, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking all feature heavily in the Junior Solar Sprint Project. Seventh grade students work in teams to design, build and race model solar cars. Students begin this by first building understanding of fossil fuel consumption and its’ environmental impact on our planet and lives. This sets the context for the relevance of this engineering design challenge using an alternative energy source. Students work as a cooperative team to first creatively sketch vehicles, then agree on a concept. Each student serves as lead engineer for one of three systems in the solar car, providing technical drawings and a bill of materials. Groups move through all phases of the design and engineering process, involving building background knowledge of how motors work, problem solving, experimentation, design and redesign of their car, as well as effectively using a wide range technology in construction. Their final test is race day, where they compete against other 7th grade teams for distinction of fastest vehicle.