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Synergy Schools Solar Challenge

More than 500 students from around Perth will take part in a new initiative this term that teachers believe will ignite students’ excitement about learning science at school.

The 2017 inaugural Synergy Schools Solar Challenge is a joint initiative between Synergy and the Science Teachers Association of WA (STAWA) that enables Year 6 and Year 8 students to build and race solar-powered standardised kit cars against other schools in semi-finals before a grand final in April.

Synergy chief executive officer Jason Waters said the Challenge was all about getting kids excited about science while educating them about the benefits of solar and renewable energy.

“The Synergy Schools Solar Challenge is a way we can achieve this through a fun hands-on approach which also includes learning basic engineering principles,” Mr Waters said.

“We’re pleased to partner with STAWA to deliver an initiative that fosters innovation, accountability, collaboration and trust – important values held by Synergy.

“It also recognises Synergy’s commitment to furthering the communities’ knowledge of energy efficient living including solar and renewable energy.”

STAWA President Glenys Leslie said participating schools will be resourced with solar car kits and curriculum linked support material to help teachers deliver Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) learning outcomes around solar energy throughout the term.

“We were extremely excited when Synergy approached us to partner on this initiative and we’re thrilled that already sixty-four schools across Perth have signed up to be involved in the first ever Synergy Schools Solar Challenge,” Ms Leslie said.

“Getting students excited about science has its challenges and this initiative is a fun way for students to learn STEM skills which are vital for Western Australia’s future.

“STEM capabilities are developed when students are challenged to address real-world problems using problem based learning.

“Subsequently, the Synergy Schools Solar Challenge is about getting students to think about how certain modifications to the standard solar car kit, such as adjusting the solar panel angle or basic gearing, will affect the speed the car will travel on race day. The team that can modify the standard solar car to make it the fastest will win the competition.”

The competition involves four (4) semi-finals held over two weeks:

  • West – Tuesday, 21 March – Carmel College
  • South – Thursday, 23 March – Willetton Primary School
  • North – Tuesday, 28 March – Mazenod College
  • East – Thursday, 30 March – Duncraig Senior High School

The grand final will be held on Wednesday, 5 April at Kings Park.