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Students can accelerate STEM skills at Junior Solar Sprint

Junior Solar Sprint will be held May 17 in Madison City Schools Stadium parking lot, 211 Celtic Road. (CONTRIBUTED)
Junior Solar Sprint will be held May 17 in Madison City Schools Stadium parking lot, 211 Celtic Road. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Students across Madison County can steer toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) understanding with the Junior Solar Sprint competition.

The event will exercise students’ creativity and problem-solving skills as they design, construct and race solar-powered cars.

Junior Solar Sprint will be held May 17 in Madison City Schools Stadium parking lot, 211 Celtic Road (jrsolarsprint.org). The competition is open to students in grades 5-8 in Madison and Huntsville city school systems, Madison County Schools and home schools.

Event organizers are the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) and Bob Jones High School.

On April 14, contestants received a solar cell and motor to use in building the cars. The Army Educational Outreach Program provided 90 solar panels free of charge to participating teams on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Teams, usually with two members, will be judged on car speed, supporting evidence of their design, artistic merit and craftsmanship.

Children will earn awards for design and track performance of their cars. Winners at the Madison event will be eligible to attend the 2014 National Technology Student Association conference in Washington, D.C. with expenses paid.

On May 17, contestants will register, have cars inspected and receive race assignments from 8 to 10 a.m. Design and judging is scheduled for 11 a.m. Time trials will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Finals racing is slated for 1 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 3 p.m.

For more information on race details, contest rules and construction resources, call race coordinator Tommy Harris at 256-842-9959 or visit thehdc.com/2014-junior-solar-sprint-competition.

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