Reflection: Student Ownership Solar Energy Engineering Project (Day 2): Light Transferred to Electric Energy - Section 2: Explore

 

Perseverance 

This was the first time I have made solar powered cars with my class.  The PowerPoint is a great tool for getting the base components set up.  After the base is set up, everything else is up to the students to figure out.  They have to decide how to attach the axle and wheels, what angle to put the solar panel at, etc.  One of the biggest mistakes I saw was that once attached, their axle with the gear on it did not touch the gear attached to the motor.  Students had to figure out a way to get them to touch.  Many groups gave up after trying two or three times.  

Engineering is not always going to be easy and a big part of the engineering design process is identifying failure points, making adjustments, and retesting.  Students may have to repeat this numerous times just as scientists repeat it many times.  One group worked for 2 days on just making changes to their car and retesting.  They shaved down the wood to get the gears to touch and they added weight to help.  Eventually they got it working.  The excitement and feeling of accomplishment they had made it worth it.  They went down to show our school principal and showed all of the other 5th grade teachers.   Seeing that group finally get it working made the other students in the class wish they had continued trying.

This is a picture of the group that persevered through this activity.

                                                

  Perseverance
  Student Ownership: Perseverance
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Solar Energy Engineering Project (Day 2): Light Transferred to Electric Energy

Unit 3: Transfer of Energy and Matter Through Organisms in an Ecosystem
Lesson 3 of 14

Objective: SWBAT build a car that converts solar energy into electric energy.

Big Idea: Students will work through the engineering design process to research, plan, and build a solar powered car to race.

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