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Geraldton students put theory into practice for solar car racing challenge

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Mount Tarcoola Primary School students Miley Argent, 11, and Dianna Vlavianos, 11, with their solar-powered car.
Camera IconMount Tarcoola Primary School students Miley Argent, 11, and Dianna Vlavianos, 11, with their solar-powered car. Credit: Pictures: Phoebe Pin

Geraldton students competed for bragging rights on Thursday when they raced solar-powered cars as part of an initiative to expand understanding about renewable energy technology.

Hosted by Champion Bay Senior High School, the Synergy Schools Solar Challenge saw Year 6 and 8 students from Geraldton schools build and race cars fuelled by solar energy.

A joint initiative between Synergy and the Science Teachers Association of WA, the annual challenge aims to boost student interest in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Champion Bay Senior High School STEM co-ordinator Hollie Roberts said the event was an opportunity for Geraldton students from different schools to put their classroom learning to the test.

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“While learning about renewable energy sources is fantastic, it is also the teamwork, research and practical skills the students develop that they will carry forward into their futures,” she said.

Ms Roberts said the competitive nature of the challenge motivated students to engage with STEM subjects.

“Competition is sometimes regarded negatively because unhealthy competition can lead to stress, but we also know that competition can be a powerful motivator for learning and developing skills. Because the Synergy Schools Solar Challenge is held in a safe learning environment, it really helps students develop resilience and self-esteem.”

STAWA chief executive John Clarke said he was pleased to see the challenge continue into its fifth year, with the metro competition reaching capacity and a number of new schools participating from regional WA.

The Dongara District High School team won the Year 6 age group and the Kalbarri District High School team won the Year 8 age group.

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