The Carnegie Science Center recently selected ToyLab’s Volta Racer to help teach kids about renewable energy and STEM topics. Carnegie has integrated the Volta Racer into live demonstrations during their Energy Show (a live theater presentation all about energy education), and within the museum’s Energy Zone NETL exhibits. Visitors interact with the exhibit pushing buttons in sequence to illuminate banks of lights to propel the Volta Racers down the tracks. This hands-on STEM learning activity helps kids understand how solar energy is used to power vehicles.
The Carnegie Science Center received the 2003 National Award for Museum Service – the Center inspires and entertains by connecting science and technology with everyday life. In addition to providing valuable scientific experiences, Carnegie Science Center engages in outreach programs that serve Pittsburgh’s divers community. Learn more by visiting www.CarnegieScienceCenter.org
We run workshops with school kids across Australia which teach participants about the need for sustainable transport solutions and how solar electric vehicles work. We use the kits as a fun and engaging teaching aid to demonstrate the basics of how sunlight can be used to produce electricity and power a vehicle to provide motion. The kids really enjoy the process of building their own car and figuring it out for themselves and it serves as a great memento for the day.
Alexander To is the current lead solar energy engineer as part of the Sunswift Solar Car Racing Team. Sunswift is the University of New South Wales (Australia) solar car team, which builds and races solar powered vehicles. Sunswift previously held the Guiness World Record for the fastest solar powered vehicle and currently holds the long-distance range record for the fastest electric vehicle over 500km (106kph). In addition to building and racing solar cars, Sunswift runs an extensive outreach program which aims to promote sustainability and environmental awareness to school children across Australia. Alex is currently studying towards a Ph.D. in engineering specialising in advanced solar cell designs for higher conversion efficiency.
In the summer of 2012, the University of Arizona Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) and its partners launched the NSF funded i-STEM Project. The overarching goal of the project is to broaden and diversify the STEM workforce. To achieve this goal, the i-STEM project develops, implements and evaluates a culturally-driven strategic hybrid program that combines an in-school mentoring program with informal out-of-school science education experiences. STEM Professionals, undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields, and Pascua Yaqui tribal members volunteer as mentors to Yaqui and Hispanic youth as they work on hands on inquiry-based science related activities. On September 13, 2014, eighteen mentees came to the University of Arizona College of Engineering for an out-of-school education experience. The students explored some of the basic concepts of renewable energy, mechanics and electricity when they built and raced their Volta Racer solar-powered cars. The day was filled with lots of sunshine and smiles.