The Solar Boat Challenge is intended to promote and develop:
It is hoped that by doing this our future citizens, scientists and engineers will be more aware of, and participate in, a more environmentally friendly approach to energy usage.
The Solar Boat Challenge comes from Australia (where the sun shines brightly) and you can get more information from these two sites:
The North Yorkshire Inspirations Event Steering Group with the support of the Rotary Club of the York Vikings thought that it was a good idea and decided to issue a challenge.
The challenge will take place at the Annual Inspirations Day at the Elvington Air Museum.
Entries can be from individuals or groups up to a maximum of group size of four.
Participants will be asked to design and construct a solar powered boat and then race them in a specially constructed pool.
The contestants will be divided in to groups by Key Stage and there will be a competition for each group.
The competition is open to students in key stages 2, 3 and 4.
Entry to the competition is free and is sponsored by the Rotary Club of the York Vikings.
Schools wishing to enter students should make their intentions to Yvonne Emerson at NYBEP (see contact details below) as soon as possible when they will receive a FREE entry kit.
Entrants may wish to bring along any research work they have done prior to the day as well as their brains and a small tool kit for maintenance purposes.
Some useful areas of research would be:
After a lot of experimentation, on my garden pond, it was found that the boats could be made to run in good daylight in this country with a minimum of two 2.4v solar cells in series running a solar motor. Three cells gave it a bit more oomph. What was critical was the angle that the cells were presented to the sun and this could seriously affect the speed of the boat; they needed to be perpendicular to the rays. The wiring of the circuit is very simple and could be done with connector blocks so no soldering is needed (good for KS2 pupils) and the boats could be made out of almost anything that floats. I used a simple balsa wood model for my early experiments, but I also made one from two empty coke bottles which worked very well. The size and type of propeller is another critical factor in how fast the boat travels for any given light level and leaves a wide area for experimentation. Air screws or water screws that is the question? In fact experimentation is the best approach to solving this challenge.
All the components for making the boats were obtained from the Technology Enhancement Programme through the TEP website www.tep.org.uk.