"The desire was for students to learn about power and the different modes of power transmission," engineering science teacher Daniel Geiter said. "The second part of the lesson is electrical circuits and the applied difference between parallel and series circuits and the power associated with them as well as electrical power calculations. Further, there is the usage of the electrical power so the students are also tasked with calculating the mechanical power output of their vehicles as well. This also allows students to calculate efficiency of their vehicles."
Another goal of the project was to teach students about project management and the cost, scope and schedule of projects.
"Students were organized into teams of mechanical and electrical engineers as well as managers," Geiter said. "Each were responsible for tasks associated with their profession as well as giving feedback to each other, especially the managers who have to give direct, face-to-face critical feedback to their teammates which is a challenge for anyone, including most adults."
The engineering science classes utilized the Engineering Design Process for their project which includes asking questions, doing research, planning, testing and improving.
"We were given quite a bit of direction by Mr. Geiter on constraints for our project," sophomore Kate Hoover said. "We started with making decisions about where we wanted to focus our efforts on the car and used that to create three sketches, one made by each of the members of my group."
Hoover's group then chose a sketch to follow and built the car -- starting with the framework and building up -- and adjusted for spacing, balance and weight as needed.
"There is a lot of trial and error involved in building a car, especially when using alternative fuel sources," Hoover said. "We used a solar cell and a fuel cell, which functions by turning distilled water into hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, both of which were something we had little to no prior experience with. Many adjustments were made from our original design based upon our own findings, the findings of our peers and recommendations from Mr. Geiter."
Each student was assigned a job in their group that was either mechanical, electrical or managerial. Hoover was the electronicaly-focused member of her team and she said it was important for her to communicate with the other members of her team about the placement and strength of electrical components as well as the budget.