• Design & Technology Education


                             MODULE: SOLAR POWER / JUNIOR SOLAR SPRINT



    Junior Solar Sprint is a model solar car competition for middle school students. Designed to generate enthusiasm for science and engineering concepts in a fun and exciting way. It will stimulate creative thinking through a hands-on design project.



    Teams of students will design, develop, and build a model solar car using provided solar panel and electric motor. Students will be briefed on JSS rules and regulations and their vehicles will be raced using solar power.



    1. You will work on an assigned team.
    2. Your team will receive the current years-Junior Solar Sprints rules and regulation to guide you     

          in your activity.

    1. The main materials are to be supplied by students
    2. Each student team will be given the JSS packet  ?SoYou Want to Build a Solar Car? and teacher

          provided guide sheet packet.

    1. Resources available on web site: http://www.nrel.gov/education/student/natjss.html




                   Understand what the problem is

                Understand what the specifications are


                    Identify information, materials, and equipment resources  required for this  module.

               Develop working drawings on the CAD system.


         Assemble solar vehicle


         Use evaluation sheets in packet

         Race solar car





    JSS Northeast Regional Competition Rules and Regulations.

    Spirit of the Sprint

    The Junior Solar Sprint offers students an opportunity to learn by means of a friendly competition against their peers where students take responsibility for the design, construction, and performance of a model solar electric vehicle.

    The role of the adult is to nurture the spirit of excitement and the joy of discovery and learning that awaits students. Adults should let students assume the responsibility for design decisions, construction, and maintenance of their vehicle, performance at a race, and winning or losing.

    Materials and vehicle specifications:

    1. The Ray Catcher solar panel and the JSS Solar Panel may be used. Panels can not be shaved, drilled or delaminated. The motors supplied with these panels (Mabuchi #280-2865 and Mabuchi #260-18130) may be used. Motors may not be re-wound or disassembled.  Any other panels and motors may not be used in the competition. All parts mentioned here must be used without modification. One solar panel and one motor allowed per car. However, reflectors, supports, and power leads may be added to these components.

      2. The remainder of the vehicle can be made from any other materials.

      3. The vehicle may not be larger than 30 cm. (12 in.) wide by 60 cm. (24 in.) long by 30 cm. (12 inches) high.

      4. The solar vehicle must be structurally sound without the solar panel. The solar panel must be able to be removed from the vehicle, and easily disconnected from the motor.

      5. A 2 cm x 2 cm surface must be available for the car number, which should be easily visible when the vehicle is in the ready to race position.

      6. The vehicle must be designed with a compartment to carry a payload of 1 empty 12 oz. aluminum soda can. The can may not be part of the vehicles structure, and must be easily and rapidly removed or reinserted. The can will be supplied by Northeast Sustainable Energy Association before the start of the race, and must remain with the vehicle and unaltered during the entire event, and returned to the judges following the race if requested.

      7. The vehicle must be powered solely by the sun?s energy. No energy storage devices (e.g. flywheel battery, etc.) may be used in conjunction with the solar panel.
    2. If the suns energy is judged insufficient, a battery pack will be furnished for each race. Motor power leads should be readily accessible for easy attachment to a battery pack .

      9. The vehicle will be steered via a guide wire that runs the length of the track (typically fishing line). The vehicle must be attached to the guide wire by a minimum of 1 attachment point. The vehicle must be easily attached (and removed) from the wire without disconnecting the guide wire.

      10. The vehicle must be of student?s own design and manufacture from the current school year; no car or major part thereof from a previous year shall compete. Each team from a given school must have a unique car design.

    The Race Track

    1. The race lane is 60 cm. wide and 20 meters long. The track is a hard flat surface such as an asphalt tennis court or running track. The track can be oriented in any direction (e.g. North-South, East-West, etc.)

      12. The guide wire will be located in the center of the lane. The wire will be no higher than 1.5 cm. above the track surface. The wire will be small diameter line, such as fishing line (e.g. 60# test monofiliment). There will be no free end on the guide wire, thus the cars must be hooked into the wire, not strung onto it.


    Page 3 

    Essex Middle School   Design & Technology Education

    Junior Solar Sprint      Standard 7.19 VT - Science Mathematics and Technology Standards: Design and Technology: Designing Solutions Grade(s): 7 & 8)  Students use technological/engineering processes to design solutions to problems.





    Just getting started


    Not yet, but close

    You are there...

    GOT IT!

    (met the Standard!)


    (Exceeded the Standard).

    State the problem.




    I could repeat the design problem as stated by my teacher.

    I could repeat the design problem, adding some of my own words to clarify.

    I was able to state the design problem in my own words using any of these forms:

    ·         An open-ended question

    ·         An existing condition in need of change

    ·         A research proposal for a project.


    Redefine the problem.




    I understood the problem in its simplest form.

    I only asked one or two questions to help clarify the problem.

    I was able to ask several questions to help clarify the problem. 

    My questions and statements showed recognition of underlying complexity, broader solution, etc.

    Identify constraints




    I only considered the major customer specifications.

    I could list some (but not all) customer specifications.

    I was able to list customer specifications and limits to the successful design.

    I identified customer specifications and added one or more constraints that weren?t originally considered.

    List alternatives




    I jumped to solution without considering alternatives

     My consideration of alternatives was insufficient/unstructured

    I listed possible solutions/ approaches and evaluated them in an orderly manner considering problem constraints


    My consideration of the alternatives led to further clarification/definition of problem.

    Select the most viable alternative.




    I was able to choose a good solution but I?m not sure how I did it.

    I was able to choose a good solution taking into consideration some of the customer specifications.

    Using the ?Design Solution Matrix,? I was able to select the best solution.

    I proposed additional features that would improve the solution?s performance.

    Propose improvements to design solution.

    After building a working model, I proposed a design change that was not an improvement in terms of the specifications

    After building a working model, I was able to propose at least one way to improve its performance.

    After building a working model, I was able to propose at least two ways to improve its performance.

    I redefined the original problem, based on insights gained, to allow more effective design solutions.


    Page 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



    Junior Solar Sprint

    A ball park itinerary



    Day 1

    Day 6



    Intro the idea of using

    Students present ideas

    solar power to power

    to the class.  Chassis



    View video


    Handout packet (1 to each


    student. Use this class

    Day 7

    period to have students


    read the packet.

    Start production work

    Collect packets or

    Key concept is to

    allow student to study

    make something that

    further on their time.

    will roll






    Day 8

    Day 2

    Continue Production

    Intro the Junior Solar


    Sprint Rules and reg.


    Show vehicles that have been

    Review soldering

    Previously done.



    Day 9 ? 13

    Overview the evaluation

    Production work

    sheet and the Solar packet

    Vehicle testing etc.



    Have students start


    designing their vehicle



    Day 14 - 15

    The students are paired

    Final days

    up as teams of 2 and

    If sunny test/time

    need to come up with a


    team name and create sign.


    See sign guideline on page 6

    Do final evaluations







    Days 3 - 5


    Students need to bring


    in materials


    Students work on


    rough designs









    Page 5 

    Solar Sign Procedure

     Log ? in

    Select Print Shop

    On screen project choices will show or select New > Project picker


    Select > Greetings > Printed Greeting Card > Next



    Select > Half-Fold   Select > Start from scratch > Next


    Select a format > Wide > Avery 3265 > Finish


    Do a save as or save


    Have fun


    Sign Requirements:

    Last Names of all Team Members Will be LARGE - across the full width of the card


    Class period and day (Blue / White) and Trimester


    A graphic that relates to the activity 


    A team slogan