Using STEM technology to help middle school students build solar and battery powered cars proved to be a success and encourage the students to continue with engineering.

For Tyler Jackson, his favorite part of the activity was the design.  His classmate Ezra Meador found that testing their car and then fixing and redesigning was his favorite part of the process.

Middle School Students Build Solar and Battery Powered CarsTheir car did not perform like they had hoped at the beginning.  However, the  Duluth Middle sixth-graders said that they prefer this type of hands-on, multi-disciplinary learning.

Rain had moved through the area, altering plans for the competition with the cars.  The competition was moved to the indoors, and students were happy to no longer have postponements. However, the competition changed, as solar power was not possible indoors, so the cars were redesigned for battery power.

“If we learn by using the car, we can actually have a hands-on experience with it instead of just looking at a board and writing stuff down about how to do it,” Jackson said.

Added Meador, “To be honest, without having the car, it takes away the fun in learning.”Middle School Students Build Solar and Battery Powered Cars

“We really had fun trying to figure out a design that worked, even though we didn’t have the solar panel, it was still a fun challenge to go through,” she said. “It’s better because we could actually experience how we use solar power by building this car, it makes learning more fun, so it engaged us.”

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