Winning Solar Vehicles Chosen in Junior Solar Sprint, a National Middle School STEM Competition

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National Junior Solar Sprint is a “green” car-design competition that teaches principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

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Winning teams at the National Junior Solar Sprint

The Army is helping students gain a hands-on understanding of STEM principles through Junior Solar Sprint.

Speed and excellent engineering design were both factors in determining which custom solar vehicles were winners of the national Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) competition this week. The event featured “green” cars designed and built by 5th through 8th grade students.

Winning teams are:
1    McLane Middle School FL
2    Southwest Middle School FL
3    Louise R Johnson Middle School FL
4    Roland Middle School OK
5    Eisenhower Middle School NJ
6    McDougle Middle School NC
7    Beggs Middle School OK
8    Warwood Middle School WV
9    R. Dan Nolan Middle School FL
10    Florence Chapel Middle School SC

“The Army is helping students gain a hands-on understanding of STEM principles through Junior Solar Sprint, as well as other summer learning programs, internships, and science competitions and events,” said Louie Lopez, Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) Cooperative Agreement Manager, U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command. “They have fun while they develop a love of science and math and glimpse possible career pathways.”

For Junior Solar Sprint, teams designed and built a model car powered by sunlight using a solar photovoltaic cell that converts the sun’s energy into electricity. Students had to consider critical factors such as aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance, weight, and drive train when designing their cars for speed and reliability. In addition to the speed of the vehicle, they were judged on factors such as creativity and originality of design, quality of construction, and a project log incorporating the design details, drawings, and components.

More than 800 students from across the country entered regional Junior Solar Sprint competitions. Events were held at schools and other facilities, including three large regional events that were hosted by U.S. Army research development and engineering labs/centers. The fifth-place team (from Eisenhower Middle School) qualified in a race at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ.

Approximately 200 students total progressed to the national competition. The top ten winners were recognized in front of more than 5500 national TSA conference attendees attending the Awards Ceremony, and each student participant received a finalist lapel pin. The top three winning teams received a trophy.

“Junior Solar Sprint is a fabulous learning experience. Students develop teamwork and problem-solving abilities, investigate environmental issues, gain hands-on engineering skills, and use principals of science and math,” said Lynda Haitz, national program manager for JSS at the Technology Student Association. “JSS gives students an exciting opportunity to apply the concepts they are learning at school to a real-world challenge.”

The 2015 national JSS competition was held in conjunction with the national TSA conference, June 28 – July 2, 2015 in Grapevine, Texas. Junior Solar Sprint is an AEOP program administered by the Technology Student Association (TSA) on behalf of the Army.

About AEOP
The Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) is comprised of Army-sponsored research, education, competitions, internships and practical experiences designed to engage and guide students as well as teachers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). From elementary school through graduate school, students of all proficiency levels, interests, ethnic, economic and academic backgrounds are encouraged to participate in real world experiences involving these important disciplines. More information is available at, at the Twitter handle @USAEOP and at

About TSA
The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national organization of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Open to young people enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes more than 230,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools spanning 49 states. TSA partners with universities and other organizations to promote a variety of STEM competitions and opportunities for students and teachers. TSA is supported by educators, parents, and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. From engineers to business managers, our alumni credit TSA with a positive influence in their lives. Visit the Technology Student Association website for more information.

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