Fifty-seven teams from 15 Colorado middle schools gathered at Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton for the 26th Annual Junior Solar Sprint and Lithium-Ion Battery car competitions. The day’s event drew nearly 200 students ready to compete and race the solar- and lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles they designed and built. Ken Caryl Middle School (Littleton) swept the top speed awards winning trophies for the fastest solar-powered model car and the fastest lithium-ion battery-powered model car.
Each year, the Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and other local sponsors host the races to show middle-school students that science, engineering, and design can be rewarding and to encourage them toward careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math. The batteries used in the competition are supplied by DOE, and teams purchase authorized solar panels, then design and build the rest of their cars themselves. The competition showcases solar and lithium-ion battery power technologies, both important scientific research focuses for NREL and DOE.
Trophies for the fastest solar-powered model cars were given to students from Ken Caryl Middle School (Littleton), “Solar 2,” first place; from Lincoln Academy Charter School (Arvada), “Bahama Mama,” second place; and from Bell Middle School (Golden), “Solar 2,” third place.
Three solar design trophies based on technology, craftsmanship and innovation were given to teams from Littleton Academy (Littleton), “LA Solar 2,” first place; from The Manning Option School (Golden)”Solar 1,” second place; and from Ken Caryl Middle School (Littleton), “Solar 1,” third place.
Trophies for the fastest lithium-ion-powered model cars were given to Colorado students from Ken Caryl Middle School (Littleton), “Battery 2,” first place; Southern Hills Middle (Boulder), “4d Squared,” second place; and from Hulstrom K-8 (Northglenn), “Re-Volts,” third place.
Three lithium-ion design trophies based on technology, craftsmanship and innovation were given to teams from Hulstrom K-8 (Northglenn), “Voltimidators,” first place; from Mead Middle School (Mead), “Jaw Project,” second place; and from Calhan Middle School (Calhan), “SpaceBallz,” third place.
The “Watermelon” team from University Schools (Greeley) was awarded the Spirit Award for exhibiting good sportsmanship, including fairness and respectful behavior. The team competed in the solar category.
The annual competition is also sponsored by DOE’s Office of Science, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, Jefferson County Schools, and Dakota Ridge High School.