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Elementary and middle school students race solar cars in a regional Junior Solar Sprint competition in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo courtesy U.S. AEOP.
Elementary and middle school students race solar cars in a regional Junior Solar Sprint competition in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo courtesy U.S. AEOP.

VCU hosts solar competition for middle schoolers

By Leila Uginčius

University Public Affairs

Virginia Commonwealth University will host Rams Go Solar, a solar car design and construction competition for middle schoolers, on Saturday, April 13. Approximately 150 fifth- through eighth-graders from 17 public schools in the Richmond region will race vehicles that they designed and built. Categories include design and creativity.

Racing starts at 10 a.m. at the alternative rain location of Oliver Hall School of Education Wing, 1015 W. Main St. (entrance near the corner of W. Main Street and S. Harrison Street along S. Harrison Street). Elimination rounds begin after lunch and closing ceremonies are at 2:30 p.m.

The event is hosted by VCU’s School of Education and College of Engineering and funded by the Army Educational Outreach Program as part of its Junior Solar Sprint program.

The Rams Go Solar project, a yearlong collaboration between VCU and area schools, boosts students’ mastery of STEM content through hands-on experiences in building solar-powered vehicles. Throughout the year, teachers received professional development, lesson plans and materials for student projects. Approximately 600 students participated and two teams from each school were invited to the April 13 race.