Cloudy Skies Add to Real-World Learning Challenges at EnergyWhiz

By Sherri Shields

COCOA, Fla.,  May 21, 2018—A blanket of cloud-covered skies can be a real challenge for students to race Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) cars and keep solar oven temperatures sufficient for cooking.

Sam’s Speed Shop from McLane Middle School in Brandon, FL won first place in Race competition, second place in Most Innovative Design, and third place in the Best Design competition in the Blue Division (grades 7&8). Photo: Liza Robles

Although the sun never peeked through the clouds for the EnergyWhiz competitions on Saturday, May 12th, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, the JSS cars were still able to race. “One thing we’ve learned since hosting EnergyWhiz for the past 15 years is that if you want to stay on schedule, you need a backup plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 Education program director. “Battery backup is now an essential part of the car design, for situations like this.”

Female student from Saturn Elementary School and a male student prepare to race their Junior Solar Sprint cars, which were modified to run on batteries instead of solar due to the cloudy sky.
Female student from Students prepare to race their Junior Solar Sprint cars, which were modified to run on batteries instead of solar due to the cloudy sky. Photo: Leon Flowers

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2018 EnergyWhiz Awards

C3, Middle, 2nd

Critter Comfort Cottage

Elementary Division

camera icon1st Place – In Spike of it All (Hedgehog) – Lawton Chiles Elementary, Tampa

camera icon2nd Place – Florida Ducks (Duck) – Ocean Breeze Elementary, Indian Harbor Beach

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Lil’ Peeps (Chickens) – Hans Christian Anderson Elementary, Rockledge

 

Middle School Division

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – The Mighty Midnighters (Cat) – Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – The Happy Hoppers (Bunny) – Milwee Middle, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon 3rd Place – Chipmunk Chicks (Chipmunk) – Milwee Middle, Longwood

 

High School Division

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – The Bog Frogs (Bog Frog) – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Marley’s Habitat (Leopard Frog) – Rockledge High, Rockledge

 

WOW! Award Elementary Division

camera iconcamera iconLil’ Peeps (Chickens) – Hans Christian Anderson Elementary, Rockledge

 

WOW! Award Middle Division

camera iconNature Gals (Squirrel) – Innovation Middle, Orlando

 

 

Energy Innovations

Middle School Division

camera icon1st Place – Corn Snake Habitat – Milwee Middle, Longwoodcamera icon

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Solar Powered Water Fountain – Milwee Middle, Longwood

 

High School Division

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – T.I.M. (Disaster Assistant Robot) – Lyman High, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Charge Barge – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Country Roads Putt Putt – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

 

WOW! Award Middle School Division

camera iconcamera iconSolar Powered Water Fountain – Milwee Middle, Longwood

 

WOW! Award High School Division

camera iconcamera iconCharge Barge – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

 

 

Energy Transfer Machine

camera icon1st Place – Mission: Feed Sheldon – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

camera icon2nd Place – Phoenix Engineers – Innovation Middle, Orlando

camera icon3rd Place – Floridian Fan – Lyman High, Longwood

camera iconPrecision Award – Phoenix Engineers – Innovation Middle, Orlando

 

 

Junior Solar Sprint

Best Design – Green Division (Grades 4 – 6)

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – Shelby Racing Team – Lithia Springs Elementary, Valrico

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Mavericks by MAV – Pinewood Elementary, Stuart

camera icon3rd Place – Tie – Thunderbird 1, North Broward Preparatory, Coconut Creek

camera icon3rd Place – Tie – USchool Tiger Sharks, Nova Southeast University School, Davie

 

Best Design – Blue Division (Grades 7 & 8)

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – Beast Mode – Innovation Middle, Orlando

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Solar McQueen – Milwee Middle, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Sam’s Speed Shop – McLane Middle, Longwood

 

Most Innovative Green Division

camera icon1st Place – Wonderful Wildebeasts – Corbett Preparatory, Tampa

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – 3 Headed Phoenix – Innovation Middle, Orlando

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Solar Squad – McLane Middle, Brandon

 

Most Innovative Blue Division

camera icon1st Place – Solar McQueen – Milwee Middle, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Sam’s Speed Shop – McLane Middle, Brandon

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Solar Vikings – McLane Middle, Brandon

 

Race – Green Division

camera icon1st Place – Solar Squad – McLane Middle, Brandon

camera icon2nd Place – Shelby Racing Team – Lithia Springs Elementary, Valrico

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – California Kings – Martinez Middle, Lutz

 

Race – Blue Division

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – Sam’s Speed Shop – McLane Middle, Brandon

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Double Two – Hidden Oaks Middle, Palm City

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – The Cringe Crew – Hidden Oaks Middle, Palm City

 

 

Solar Energy Cook-off

Best Design – Yellow Division (Grades 4 – 6)

camera iconcamera iconcamera icon1st Place – Sun Food – Martinez Middle, Lutz

camera iconcamera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Sunday Chefs – East Elementary, Punta Gorda

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Three Amigos – Martinez Middle, Lutz

 

Best Design – Orange Division (Grades 7 & 8)

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – Sabores Grill – Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Solar Express – Milwee Middle, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Solar Sharks, Hidden Oaks Middle, Palm City

 

Best Design – Red Division (Grades 9 – 12)

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – The Hot Pockets – Lyman High, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Mango Marauders – Edgewood Jr/Sr High

 

WOW! Award Yellow Division

camera iconcamera iconcamera iconSun Food – Martinez Middle, Lutz

 

WOW! Award Orange Division

camera iconcamera iconSabores Grill – Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

 

WOW! Award Red Division

camera iconMango Marauders – Edgewood Jr/Sr High

 

Culinary Award – Yellow Division

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – Sunday Chefs – East Elementary, Punta Gorda

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Three Amigos – Martinez Middle, Lutz

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Tiki Troop – Atlantis Elementary, Cocoa

 

Culinary Award – Orange Division

camera iconcamera icon1st Place – Sabores Grill – Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

camera iconcamera icon2nd Place – Solar Express – Milwee Middle, Longwood

camera iconcamera icon3rd Place – Sunny Side Up – Milwee Middle, Longwood

 

Culinary Award – Red Division

camera icon1st Place – Mango Marauders, Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

camera icon2nd Place – The Hot Pockets, Lyman High, Longwood

 

Fresh From Florida Award Yellow Division

camera iconSunday Chefs – East Elementary, Punta Gorda

 

Fresh From Florida Award Orange Division

camera iconSolar Express – Milwee Middle, Longwood

 

Fresh From Florida Award Red Division

camera iconcamera iconMango Marauders – Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

 

 

Electrathon

MediaContact: Charles Harrison, charlie@electrathonoftampabay.org

 

High School Division

camera icon1st place, Brandon HS car 14 with 121 laps

2nd place, Brooks DeBartolo car 55 with 87 laps

3rd place, Brandon HS car 9 with 76 laps

4th place, Simmons Career Center car 35 with 24 laps

5th place STEMTECH car 823 with 14 laps.

 

Open Division

1st place, Tiger Racing car 4 with 153 laps

2nd place, Silver Bullet Racing car 94 with 149 laps

3rd place, RYNO Racing car 13 with 49 laps

4th place, Seminole State College car 314 with 40 laps

5th place, Hillsborough Community College car 30 with 3 laps.

 

Advanced Battery Division

1st place, Pro EV car 39 with 171 laps

2nd place, University of South Florida car 132 with 121 laps

3rd place Titan Racing car 242 with 80 laps.

 

Electrathon of Tampa Bay End of the Year Awards, 2017-2018 Race Season.

 

Season Points Winners:

High School Division

1st place, Simmons Career car 35 with 348 points

2nd place, Brandon HS car 14 with 328 points

3rd place Simmons Career Center car 53 with 324 points.

 

Open Division

1st place Tiger Racing car 4 with 464 points

2nd place Silver Bullet Racing car 94 with 228 points

3rd place Hillsborough Community College car 30 with 214 points.

 

Advanced Battery Division

1st place, University of South Florida car 132 with 404 points

2nd place, Pro EV car 39 with 330 points

3rd place, Titan Racing car 242 with 158 points.

 

Volunteer of the Year: Aditya Chelikani

Executive Board Member of the Year: Brady Weber Team

Sponsor of the Year: Mark Knowlton (Brandon HS)

“I Broke Mine” Award: Dustyn Clark (Brandon HS)

 

Fastest Lap per Division:

High School Division Mulberry HS car 38 at the HCC Race with a lap time of 30.774.

Open Division Tiger Racing car 4 at the HCC Race with a lap time of 30.69

Advanced Battery Division University of South Florida car 132 at the HCC Race with a lap time of 26.471.

 

Most Laps for the 2017-2018 Race Season:

camera iconHigh School Division: Simmons Career Center car 53 with 729 laps,

Advanced Battery Division: University of South Florida car 132 with 790 laps

Open Division: Tiger Racing car 4 with 1,141 laps.

 

Solar Cars, Cookers and Inventions Compete at EnergyWhiz on May 13

By Sherri Shields
April 25, 2017

COCOA, FL–Elementary, middle and high school students—from Florida’s Panhandle to the Keys—will show off their solar cars, cookers and inventions during EnergyWhiz on Saturday, May 13th.

EnergyWhiz logo
EnergyWhiz – a forum for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

EnergyWhiz is a day-long event that showcases sustainable and renewable energy-focused products with real-world purpose that are designed, built and demonstrated by teams of students. Each project category requires students to share what they have learned with their peers, the public and industry professionals who also serve as project evaluators. Creative thinking, scientific know-how and effective communication skills all come into play at EnergyWhiz.

The 15th annual event is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Cocoa campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Eastern Florida State College, at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), 1679 Clearlake Road. The event is free and open to the public.

DJ Chill Will—the world’s first solar-powered DJ and also a full-time, middle school environmental science teacher—will be emceeing the event in the morning. He will also be demonstrating photovoltaic equipment components and functions, teaching
scientific concepts behind photovoltaic technology, and educating on the applicability of using renewable energy to reduce environmental impacts. Food trucks and a showcase of electric vehicles will also be at EnergyWhiz.

Competitions will include: Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Solar Energy Cook-off, and the Electrathon.

  • The Junior Solar Sprint is a competition that challenges elementary and middle-school students to design, build and race model solar cars. Awards are given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed.

    Female student and male student at the starting line of the Junior Solar Sprint yellow track, racing their model-size solar cars. Female student's car is slightly ahead of male's car.
    Students design, build and race solar-powered cars in the Junior Solar Sprint. Credit: Sherri Shields
  • The Solar Energy Cook-off challenges students in grades 4 through 12 to design and build solar cookers and cook a recipe of their own creation using the power of the sun.  In Top Chef-style, each dish will be judged by a panel of experts based on taste, ingredients, presentation and creativity.

    One male student positions the solar cooker while the other male student stands behind the cooker, stands behind the cooker, facing the sun and uses his hand to determine the path of the sun in relationship to the cooker.
    Tracking the sun to position the solar cooker is crucial in keeping an optimal oven temperature for cooking. Credit: Cheryl Carson
  • The Energy Innovations program is a full-scale solar electric design and marketing challenge for middle and high school students. Each participating team designs and constructs a product or artistic work powered by photovoltaics, also called solar electric cells. Teams also create marketing pieces—such as brochures, fliers, and posters—to accompany their products.

    Solar panels arranged on a pyramid designed of PVC tubing that sits inside a child-sized swimming pool with water in it.
    Energy Innovations challenges students to design, engineer and market full-scale, solar-powered devices that have real-world applicability. Credit: Liza Robles
  • The Critter Comfort Cottage competition challenges students in grades 4 through 12 to demonstrate their understanding of energy efficient and eco-friendly building design for a pet of their choosing.

    Students design energy-efficient and eco-friendly homes for pets in the Critter Comfort Cottage. Credit: Cheryl Carson
  • The Electrathon is a competition for high school students and older. The go-cart-type vehicles, powered by an electric motor and batteries, must be skillfully designed, built and driven to maximize distance traveled within a given time limit.

    Six electric go-cart-style cars starting the race in a parking lot.
    Go-cart-type electric vehicles are skillfully designed, built, and driven to maximize distance traveled with a time limit. Credit: Alik Smith

This year’s EnergyWhiz sponsors include: Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy, Publix Super Market Charities,  Airport Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, American Muscle Car Museum, LifeStyle Homes, Solar-Ray, Inc., and Smart Electric Power Alliance.

“The success of EnergyWhiz is in large part due to our volunteers and sponsors,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 Education Director at FSEC. “Whether you can spare a couple of hours or the whole day, you can help make EnergyWhiz a continued success.” Volunteers and sponsors can sign-up at: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/energywhiz.

For more information about EnergyWhiz, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/energywhiz, watch a video about the EnergyWhiz at http://vimeo.com/9522310, or contact Susan Schleith, K-12 Education Director, at susan@fsec.ucf.edu or Sherri Shields, Communications Director, at sherri@fsec.ucf.edu.

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EVTC Helping to Make STEM Learning Relevant Through Electrathon

By Susan Schleith
July 18, 2016

There was no roar of engines and no smelly fumes as the electric go-carts sped by the attentive crowd of students, teachers and the public gathered by the track in front of UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa. This was the final race of the Electrathon season coordinated by Electrathon of Tampa Bay, which was held in conjunction with the statewide EnergyWhiz event on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Over one thousand people, young and old, attended EnergyWhiz, with the opportunity to learn about a variety of clean energy technologies, including hydrogen, photovoltaics and electric vehicles.

Photo of go-cart type electric vehicles ready to race at FSEC as part of EnergyWhiz.
Electrathon vehicles get in place before the last race of the 2015-2016 Season at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa.

The Electrathon is a race featuring battery-powered electric go-carts that have been designed and built by the participating individuals and teams.   There are no refueling pit stops during an Electrathon race; the challenge is completing the most laps in one hour without completely draining the vehicle’s battery. Nine organizations were represented at the event with several of those with multiple teams; a total of 13 vehicles raced.

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EnergyWhiz Energizes Students in Hydrogen and Solar

By Sherri Shields
May 28, 2015

It’s a growing phenomenon in Florida! From the Panhandle to the Keys, EnergyWhiz is drawing in students fascinated with renewable energy technology.

EnergyWhiz logo
EnergyWhiz – a venue for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

EnergyWhiz, which includes six separate competitions, is a venue for students in grades fourth through 12th to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused competitions. At this year’s 13th annual event on May 2, more than 650 energized students from across Florida converged at the University of Central Florida’s FSEC in Cocoa to showcase their renewable energy projects and participate in the competitions. “We like making things run on the sun,” said Conner Dale, a student from Edgewood Junior Senior High. “It’s fun to interact with other students from across the state,” added Raydn Hall.

Tallahassee, Gainesville and Orlando hosted smaller EnergyWhiz Expos this year, leading up to the major EnergyWhiz event. “In an effort to reach more students, we’re encouraging teachers across Florida to host regional EnergyWhiz Expos, and then the winners of the expos will advance to the state level and compete at FSEC,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 education director at FSEC.

Students with red clown noses and neon colored wigs stand around contraption while judges look on.
Team Welcome to the Carnival from Milwee Middle School in Longwood earns the WOW! Award in the Hydrogen Challenge. Photo: Sherri Shields

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