A group of kids building and racing solar cars learned a lot about energy transfer, torque, and how solar power works.

Soft SkillsAt Edgartown School, 200 fifth and sixth graders raced small solar powered cars they built on a track set up on a court by the playground.

Teacher Kara Gelinas organized the solar car races.  She said that students prepared for the annual competition over the past few weeks, learning about how the cars work and designing and building them. The students and their cars were assessed by volunteers from Cape Light Compact. Their education outreach program supplied materials and volunteers for race day. Kids answered questions about their cars, their engineering and design choices, and challenges they encountered.  They were awarded prizes for knowledge, design and technical skill.

“It is more complicated than you would think. Like you think you put up a panel and the sun comes in. But it has to do with small particles, like photons and electrons and atoms,” said student Sam Zack. He and his partner Oisin McVey won the knowledge category of the competition.

Doug Brush, fifth grade science teacher in Oak Bluffs said, “It’s a lesson in electricity, engineering, and sustainable energy, but also a lesson in frustration and perseverance.”

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