Archive for the ‘Media Advisory’ Category

Cloudy Skies Add to Real-World Learning Challenges at EnergyWhiz

Monday, May 21st, 2018

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

New to the JSS competition this year are two teams from Saturn Elementary School’s After School Program. An Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) grant provided funding for Schleith to work students who are underserved and underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “I was able to work with the afterschool coordinator and students two days a month for nine months,” said Schleith. The MX team finished in fourth place, and the Shakamelina team ranked in the top 10. “The kids had a lot of fun. You can tell how proud they are of what they did,” said Marilea Pittenger, afterschool coordinator at Saturn Elementary.

Solar Energy Cook-off

Two male students stand along side their foil-lined, foldable cooker that has two side-by-side insulated pots in the center.

Sun Food from Martinez Middle in Lutz, FL earned a first place in Best Design and the WOW! Award in the Yellow Division (grades 4-6). Photo: Nick Waters

Team Sabores Grill (three female and two male students) stand along side their solar cooker, which incorporates the lens from a TV mounted on a stand.

Sabores Grill team from Lake Nona Middle School earned first place in the Solar Energy Cook-off Best Design, first place in Culinary, and the Wow! Award in the Orange Division (grades 7-8). Photo: Nick Waters

Backup plans for solar cooking are not as simple. Solar Energy Cook-off teams typically have backup recipes in case the sun is hidden behind the clouds, and most of the teams did this year. A few teams weren’t able to present anything to the tasting judges, but that didn’t stop them from discussing with the judges what they had planned and had tested prior to the event. “I give them credit for having the determination and creativity to follow through the process and not throw in the towel,” said Cheryl Thorn, Solar Energy Cook-off team leader.

Solar Energy Cook-off teams use digital or infrared thermometers to help ensure food is safe for tasting. Solar Express from Milwee Middle School, who earned second place in Culinary and Best Design, still managed to cook thin strips of steak for their steak fajitas. How’d they do that? “A good solar cooker design can make all the difference,” added Schleith. Solar cooking can be fun and Izaac Gonzalez from Milwee Middle School’s Solar Express adds, “My favorite part about this competition is that I get to eat the leftovers.” The instructors were pretty excited about EnergyWhiz too. “It’s gratifying to see the students perform well in front of the judges, being able to translate what they’ve learned in class into a real-world situation,” said Carol Unterreiner, Milwee Middle School instructor. “And then to a get a thank you from a student who felt he was able to adequately answer the judges questions about what he had learned, makes it all worthwhile,” added John Kallin, partner instructor. Solar cooking teams are judged in the categories of Culinary, Best Design, Wow!, and Fresh From Florida, which incorporates Florida-grown ingredients.

(more…)

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Student-Designed and Built Solar Cars, Electric Go-Carts, Solar Cookers, Hydrogen Cars and Contraptions, Energy Efficient Pet Homes and Solar Inventions – All in One Day!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
April 8, 2015

WHY:

The 13th annual EnergyWhiz, a daylong event showcasing student-built energy projects. These hands-on renewable energy activities expose students to alternative energy fuel sources and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

WHO:

More than 800 elementary, middle, high school and college students from across Florida will participate in the University of Central Florida/ Florida Solar Energy Center event.

Brevard County Parks and Recreation, in partnership with FSEC, is sponsoring the EcoLiving Jubilee, where various energy and environmental organizations will be on site to share information about their products and services.

(more…)

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MEDIA ADVISORY: UCF’s First Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Station Opens in Cocoa ­— Grand Opening and Ride & Drive Announced

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

WHAT:
UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will have a Grand Opening for its new Electric Vehicle charging station. A Ride and Drive of the all-electric Nissan LEAF will be offered, and a variety of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be on display, including the Cadillac ELR and Chevy Volt.

WHEN:
Friday, March 20, 2015

11:00 a.m. – Ribbon cutting
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Ride & Drive, Nissan LEAF

WHERE:
Florida Solar Energy Center
1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922
(321) 638-1000

BACKGROUND:
Working with NovaCharge, Nissan North America donated the Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) to UCF’s FSEC. Located on the Eastern Florida State College Cocoa Campus, FSEC is an ideal location for a DC fast charger since it’s two miles from State Road 528, the “Beachline Expressway”—a main artery connecting the Orlando area and Orlando International Airport to the Space Coast.

The EV charging station includes two standalone chargers:

  • DC Fast Charger with CHAdeMO connector.
    This 50 kW charger can provide about 80 percent battery charge to a Nissan LEAF within 30 minutes.
    Specs: 480V, 3-phase, 60 amps
  • Level 2 Charger with 7 kW dual J1772 connectors.
    This charger takes 3-4 hours to provide a full charge.
    Specs: 208V, single-phase, 30 amps

EDITOR’S NOTE: Representatives from UCF, City of Cocoa, City of Orlando, Nissan North America, Chevrolet, NovaCharge, FPL, and Drive Electric Florida will be in attendance.

CONTACT:
Sherri Shields
Director, Communications
Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
University of Central Florida (UCF)
(321) 638-1019
www.fsec.ucf.edu

PR15-02

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MEDIA ADVISORY: No Shortage of Energy on May 4th — Student-Built Solar Cars, Cookers and Hydrogen Inventions Energize the EnergyWhiz Olympics

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

May 01, 2013

COCOA, FL – More than 650 elementary, middle and high school students—from across Florida—will show off their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) skills at the 11th annual EnergyWhiz Olympics on Saturday, May 4th in Cocoa.

The EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student-built projects in solar and hydrogen. These hands-on renewable energy competitions expose students to alternative energy fuel sources and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

The public is invited to attend free of charge. The event is located on Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road. Competitions are from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., with an awards ceremony following.

Activities include:

  • The Energy Innovations program (10:00 a.m.) 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 fully powered by photovoltaics (PV), also called solar electric cells. In addition, teams create marketing pieces—such as brochures, fliers, and posters—to accompany their products.
  • The Hydrogen Challenge (10:30 a.m.) for students in grades 6 through 12, provide opportunities for student teams to explore hydrogen through hands-on engineering. Students demonstrate an understanding of hydrogen through a creative timing apparatus built with several Rube Goldberg-type steps.
  • The Battery Assisted Transport (BAT) Mobile (11:00 a.m.) challenges students in grades 6 through 8, to build and race model-sized electric cars. The race tests the creative engineering skills of students as they gain hands-on experience in the automotive design process. This event is a component of the Department of Energy’s Middle School Science Bowl.
  • The Junior Solar Sprint (11:30 a.m.) is a competition that challenges 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.
  • The Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff (1:00 p.m.) 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 and creativity.
  • The Electrathon (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.) 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.
  • In addition, Food Truck Crazy will be on site with 10 different food trucks
    (11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).

For more information, visit

http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/energywhiz_olympics/index.htm, or watch a video about the EnergyWhiz Olympics at http://vimeo.com/9522310.

CONTACT:

Susan Schleith, FSEC Education Coordinator, 321-638-1017 or susan@fsec.ucf.edu

Sherri Shields, Asst. Director Communications, 321-638-1019 or sherri@fsec.ucf.edu

Note: photographs from previous years events available upon request.

About FSEC: The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research institute in the nation. Current divisions and their research activities include Advanced Energy Research: alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells; Buildings Research: energy-efficient buildings; and Solar Energy: solar water and pool heating, and solar electric and distributed generation systems. For more information about the center, visit http://www.floridaenergycenter.org or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at 321-638-1015.

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 2nd largest in the nation with more than 59,000 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development. UCF’s culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

####

PR13-01-R1

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No Shortage of Energy on May 4th

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Student-Built Solar Cars, Cookers and Hydrogen Inventions
Energize the EnergyWhiz Olympics

More than 650 elementary, middle and high school students—from across Florida—will show off their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) skills at the 11th annual EnergyWhiz Olympics on Saturday, May 4th in Cocoa.

The EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student-built projects in solar and hydrogen. These hands-on renewable energy competitions expose students to alternative energy fuel sources and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

The public is invited to attend free of charge. The event is located on Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road. Competitions are from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., with an awards ceremony following.

Activities include:

  • The Energy Innovations program (10:00 a.m.) 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 fully powered by photovoltaics (PV), also called solar electric cells. In addition, teams create marketing pieces—such as brochures, fliers, and posters—to accompany their products.
  • The Hydrogen Challenge (10:30 a.m.) for students in grades 6 through 12, provide opportunities for student teams to explore hydrogen through hands-on engineering. Students demonstrate an understanding of hydrogen through a creative timing apparatus built with several Rube Goldberg-type steps.
  • The Battery Assisted Transport (BAT) Mobile (11:00 a.m.) challenges students in grades 6 through 8, to build and race model-sized electric cars. The race tests the creative engineering skills of students as they gain hands-on experience in the automotive design process. This event is a component of the Department of Energy’s Middle School Science Bowl.
  • The Junior Solar Sprint (11:30 a.m.) is a competition that challenges 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.
  • The Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff (1:00 p.m.) 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 and creativity.
  • The Electrathon (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.) 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.
  • In addition, Food Truck Bazaar will be on site with 10 different food trucks (11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).

For more information, visit
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/energywhiz_olympics/index.htm, or watch a video about the EnergyWhiz Olympics at http://vimeo.com/9522310.

CONTACT:
Susan Schleith, FSEC Education Coordinator, 321-638-1017 or susan@fsec.ucf.edu
Sherri Shields, Asst. Director Communications, 321-638-1019 or sherri@fsec.ucf.edu

Note: photographs from previous years events available upon request.

About FSEC: The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research institute in the nation. Current divisions and their research activities include Advanced Energy Research: alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells; Buildings Research: energy-efficient buildings; and Solar Energy: solar water and pool heating, and solar electric and distributed generation systems. For more information about the center, visit http://www.floridaenergycenter.org or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at 321-638-1015.

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 2nd largest in the nation with more than 58,000 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development. UCF’s culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

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EnergyWhiz Olympics to Showcase Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers and Hydrogen Experiments

Friday, April 20th, 2012

EnergyWhiz Olympics

The tenth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Hydrogen Challenge, Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, and new this year, the Electrathon.

More than 650 Florida elementary, middle and high school students—from as far as Tallahassee and Miami—will participate in the EnergyWhiz Olympics, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 5, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC is located at Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, 1679 Clearlake Road. The public is invited to attend free of charge. (more…)

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MEDIA ADVISORY: EnergyWhiz Olympics to Feature Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

The ninth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include Energy Innovations, Hydrogen Sprint, Hands-On-Hydrogen, Junior Solar Sprint and Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff.

EnergyWhiz Olympics

More than 650 Florida elementary, middle and high school students – from as far as Tallahassee and Miami – will participate starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC is located at Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, 1679 Clearlake Road. The public is invited to attend free of charge.
(more…)

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Renewable Energy Knowledge and Skills Demonstrated by Students at EnergyWhiz Olympics on Saturday, May 1

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

WHAT:

The eighth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is day-long event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include the Junior Solar Sprint, Hydrogen Sprint, Energy Innovations and the Bright House Solar Energy Cook-off. The general public is invited to observe all activities.

  • The Junior Solar Sprint is a competition that challenges 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.
  • The Hydrogen Sprint is a high school competition that provides opportunities for students to explore hydrogen fuel cell power with a hands-on design component and a presentation.
  • 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 fully powered by photovoltaics (PV), also called solar electric cells. Teams also create marketing pieces – such as brochures, fliers, and posters – to accompany their products.
  • The Bright House Solar Energy Cook-off challenges students, in grades 4th – 8th, to design and build solar cookers, and to also 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 and creativity.

WHY:

These hands-on renewable energy competitions – for elementary, middle and high school students – expose students to alternative energy fuel sources, and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

WHO:

More than 650 elementary, middle, and high school Florida students – from Tallahassee to Miami and everywhere in between – will participate in the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

WHEN:

Saturday, May 1 starting at 9 a.m.

9:00 a.m.      Welcome – Auditorium, Dr. James Fenton, Director, FSEC

9:30 a.m.      Technical Judging Begins –

Junior Solar Sprint

Hydrogen Sprint

Hydrogen Sprint Presentations

Energy Innovations Displays Open to Public

Solar Energy Cook-Off – Design Judging

Solar Cookers – Displays Open to Public

10:30 a.m.            Energy Innovations Judging

11:30 a.m.            Junior Solar Sprint Race Begins (Track Area 1)

12 noon      Hydrogen Sprint Race Begins (Track Area 2)

2:00 p.m.            Solar Energy Cook-off – Recipe Judging (Auditorium)

3:30 p.m.            Awards Ceremony (Auditorium)

WHERE:

Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For more information on these exciting educational events, visit

http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/events/ewhiz_olympics.htm or view a video about the EnergyWhiz Olympics at http://vimeo.com/982597.

CONTACT:

Susan Schleith, FSEC Education Coordinator, at 321-638-1017 or Susan@fsec.ucf.edu.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Renewable Energy Solutions Demonstrated by Students at EnergyWhiz Olympics on Saturday, May 9

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

WHAT:
The seventh-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a series of day-long activities dedicated to students with an interest in alternative fuels. It is composed of the Junior Solar Sprint, Hydrogen Sprint, Energy Innovations and the new Bright House Solar Energy Cook-off.

  • The Junior Solar Sprint is a competition that challenges 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.
  • The Hydrogen Sprint is a high school competition that provides opportunities for students to explore hydrogen power with a hands-on design component and a presentation.
  • 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 fully powered by photovoltaics (PV), also called solar electric cells. Teams also create marketing pieces, such as brochures, fliers, and posters, to accompany their products.
  • The Bright House Solar Energy Cook-Off challenges students, in grades 4th – 8th, to design and build solar cookers, and to also 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 and creativity.

WHY:
These hands-on renewable energy competitions – for elementary, middle and high school students – expose students to alternative energy fuel sources, and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

WHO:
More than 650 elementary, middle, and high school Florida students – from Tallahassee to Miami and everywhere in between – will participate in the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

Number of Teams in Each Competition –
Junior Solar Sprint:  60
Hydrogen Sprint:  13
Energy Innovations:  12
Solar Cook-off:  46

WHEN:
Saturday, May 9 starting at 9 a.m.

9:00 a.m.    Welcome – Auditorium
Dr. James Fenton, Director, Florida Solar Energy Center

9:30 a.m.    Technical Judging Begins – Junior Solar Sprint, Hydrogen Sprint
Hydrogen Sprint Presentations
Energy Innovations Displays Open to Public
Solar Energy Cook-Off – Design Judging
Solar Cookers – Displays Open to Public

11:30 a.m.    Energy Innovations Judging – Middle School Teams

12 noon    Energy Innovations Judging – High School Teams
Junior Solar Sprint Race Begins (Track Area 1)

1:00 p.m.    Hydrogen Sprint Race Begins (Track Area 2)

2:00 p.m.    Solar Energy Cook-Off – Recipe Judging (Auditorium)

3:30 p.m.    Awards Ceremony (Auditorium)

WHERE:
Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For more information on these exciting educational events, visit
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/events/ewhiz_olympics.htm or view a video about the EnergyWhiz Olympics at http://vimeo.com/982597.

Contact Susan Schleith, FSEC Education Coordinator, at 321-638-1017 or Susan@fsec.ucf.edu.

###

PR09-07

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