Florida Solar Energy Center Announces Winners of EnergyWhiz Olympics

The annual EnergyWhiz Olympics, a day-long series of activities dedicated to students with an interest in alternative fuels, was held at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa on Saturday, May 7.

The day’s three featured events were the Junior Solar Sprint competition (JSS), the High School Hydrogen Sprint competition and the second phase of the Florida Middle School Science Bowl: the Hands-on Hydrogen Demonstration.

The Junior Solar Sprint is a hands-on competition for middle school students in grades 6-8. Students work in teams to design, build and race model-size, solar-powered vehicles. Awards are based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed.

Winners of the 2005 Junior Solar Sprint competition were:

Most Innovative:
1st Place, Horizon Middle, Eagle 1
2nd Place, Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology, Sun Cruisers
3rd Place, Trace Academy, Lightnin’ Hopkins

Best Design:
1st Place, Tuskawilla Montessori Academy, Speed Demon
2nd Place, Northside Middle School, The Wedge
3rd Place, Lewis Carroll Elementary, The Force

Sixth Grade
1st Place, Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology, Sun Cruisers
2nd Place, Tuskawilla Montessori Academy, Speed Demon
3rd Place, Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology, B.D.O.

Seventh Grade
1st Place, Tuskawilla Montessori Academy, Banana Boat
2nd Place, T.E. Weightman, D & H Express
3rd Place, Kanapaha Middle, The Insects

Eighth Grade
1st Place, Tuskawilla Montessori Academy, Revenge of Sugar Loaf
2nd Place, Jackson Middle, The Black Lightning
3rd Place, Lockhart Middle, Chargers

The High School Hydrogen Sprint is a hands-on competition for high school students in grades 9-12. Students in this program design, build and race hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This competition was created to expose students to the potential of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source and to give the graduates of the Junior Solar Sprint program an opportunity to continue designing and building alternative fuel vehicles. In addition to the hands-on phase of the competition, each team is required to give a 10-minute presentation on some aspect of hydrogen research.

The 2005 High School Hydrogen Sprint winners were:

Best Design:
1st Place, Melbourne High, White Lightning

Best Presentation:
1st Place, Titusville High, MC3

1st Place, Melbourne High, White Lightning

Best Overall:
1st Place Melbourne High, White Lightning
2nd Place, MAST Academy, Hydrocel
3rd Place, MAST Academy, Donut

The National Middle School Science Bowl, sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, features both a question-and-answer competition and a hands-on engineering event. The program is designed to encourage middle school students to excel in mathematics, science and engineering. The Florida Middle School Science Bowl, held at the Florida Solar Energy Center, is one of 23 sanctioned regional science bowl competitions held throughout the United States. The winning teams from each regional competition will be given the opportunity to compete in the National Science Bowl in June in Golden, Colorado.

The Hands-On Hydrogen Demonstration is the engineering component of Florida’s Science Bowl. The top eight teams from the academic portion of the Middle School Science Bowl held April 2 at FSEC received hydrogen fuel cells and the challenge to design and build a model sized moving vehicle. Demonstrations of these vehicles took place at the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

The 2005 Hands-on Hydrogen winners were:

1st Place, Lincoln Middle, Lincoln A
2nd Place, Lincoln Middle, Lincoln B
3rd Place, Southwest Middle, Supernovas

The EnergyWhiz Olympics is coordinated by staff at the Florida Solar Energy Center, but it is successful because of the time and efforts of the many volunteers involved. These included engineers from United Space Alliance, the Canaveral Council of Technical Societies, the Florida Solar Energy Center and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Other volunteers included representatives from Brevard Parks and Recreation, the Florida Solar Energy Center, the National Energy Foundation, Lockheed Martin and the Space Coast Science Education Alliance.

For more information on these exciting educational events at the Florida Solar Energy Center, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/ed/activit/ewhizolympics.htm.

The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy areas. For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or call the FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015.

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