Laie Students Capture The Power Of The Sun At Annual Sprint
Earth Day turned out to be an ideal date to demonstrate the power of the sun.
Laie Elementary School sixth-graders and their science teacher, Barbara Jean Kahawaii, arrived on the tennis courts at Kapolei High School April 22 ready to test the performance of their model solar-powered vehicles in timed trials. All entries were created from lightweight, bare frames strong enough to support a mini photovoltaic panel and small electric motor.
The annual Solar Sprint Exhibition comes courtesy of Hawaiian Electric Co. and DOE. “We want to encourage students to learn how the sun’s energy is converted into useful electrical energy,” explained HECO’s program administrator Kimm Teruya.
The cars had to sprint down a 20-meter course within 20 seconds, or about 3 feet per second. To exceed the standard, the students added lead weights to attempt to run the same course in 30 seconds. Along with Laie, other solar teams (about 350 youths) came from Kapolei, Wheeler and Niu Valley middle schools; Waipahu Intermediate and Waianae Elementary.
“The principles taught in science, technology engineering and math classes have helped the students with the construction and performance of their vehicles,” noted Kahawaii. “We see the results of STEM teaching through these activities.”