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

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.

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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.

 

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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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PR17-02

 

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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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2015 EnergyWhiz Winners

REVISED
May 21, 2015

SOLAR ENERGY COOKOFF

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.

Best Design – Yellow Division

  • 1st Place – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ocean Breeze Elementary, Indian Harbor Beach
  • 2nd Place – Team B.A.M., Martinez Middle, Lutz
  • 3rd Place – Solar Sizzlers, Newberry Elementary, Newberry

Best Design – Orange Division

  • 1st Place – Solar Buddies, Hidden Oaks Middle, Palm City
  • 2nd Place – Rain in Spain Cooking Company, Lake Nona Middle, Orlando
  • 3rd Place – Girls, Doing Work!, Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

Best Design – Red Division

  • 1st Place – Solar Apes, Pine Ridge High, Deltona
  • 2nd Place – Thunder Tabemono, Lake Region High, Eagle Lake
  • 3rd Place – The Doctor’s Delight, Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

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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!

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.

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Florida Students Compete With Energy Solutions

Cocoa, Fla. – With the constant rise of gas prices, energy is on everyone’s mind these days, including our students’. On Saturday, May 3, hundreds of students from more than 40 schools all over Florida competed in the sixth-annual EnergyWhizOlympics at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Here they put their knowledge and skills to work toward finding solutions to our nation’s energy challenges.

This alternative energy competition, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, highlights the science and engineering skills of middle school and high school students as they participate in activities related to real-world energy issues by racing solar and hydrogen-powered model cars.

“We were so impressed with the level of competition this year,” said Susan Schleith, project manager for the EnergyWhiz Olympics. “Students are beginning to take a real interest in alternative energy, which is promising for our future energy independence.” Read more

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