Solar-Powered Experiments Drive Home Physics Lessons

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As part of their unit on physics and in celebration of Earth Day, Babylon Memorial Grade School sixth-graders worked with their science teachers Heather Hosek and Eric Solnick to design and engineer solar energy racecars. Working in groups, the students used the scientific skills learned in class and their knowledge of photovoltaic cells to construct their cars, which they finished by decorating with recycled paper.

In late April, the groups tested their completed projects on school grounds. During the races, the students recorded, graphed and compared their speeds according to the angle at which they had placed their solar panel. Notable correlations were made between these two factors, and the class plans to retest the cars in June to observe how the different angle of the sun will affect the vehicles’ travel speeds.

“This lab taught students the importance of keeping our planet clean by reducing pollution and provided them with an opportunity to observe renewable energy at work,” stated Mrs. Hosek.