Photo: ECHS students with their boat at the 2013 Solar Cup Competition.
Imagine building a completely solar-powered boat from scratch! This is what our high school students did for the past seven months to compete in the 2013 Solar Cup Competition!
This annual competition, where teams of high school students build a 16-foot, solar powered, one passenger boat to participate in endurance and sprint races, is hosted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. This was ECHS’s fourth year participating and we are very thankful to our sponsor West Basin Municipal Water District for helping make this possible.
This three day competition took place at Lake Skinner in Temecula Valley on the sunny weekend of May 18th. ECHS was one of thirty-eight high schools from Southern California that participated.
The ECHS team, which comprised mostly of sophomores and freshman, worked very hard over the past seven months to design and build this boat. The team collaboratively worked on constructing a wooden hull, installing a motor, propellers, drive shafts and solar panels, and learning how to drive their boat!
This competition provides a great hands-on opportunity for our students to learn about conservation of natural resources, electrical and mechanical engineering and problem solving. Not only was this experience a great practical application of their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge, it was also the perfect setting for them to hone their leadership and teamwork skills. At ECHS, this program is especially valuable because it correlates with our interdisciplinary and outdoor learning mission.
“It is a wonderful sight to see our students drive their own boat in a competition,” commented Sandy Rodriguez, who mentored the students and has assisted the program for the past three years. “The students always come out of the program with a huge boost in confidence,” she added. Rodriguez said that this year’s performance has been their best yet. Both Rodriguez and the students are already excited for next year’s challenge!