Northern Virginia Students Compete in Solar Car Race to Learn About STEM.

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Students from all over Northern Virginia competed in the 2018 Junior Solar Sprint by designing, building and racing model solar electric cars.

JSS Winners

Competing in JSS goes beyond STEM concepts. It teaches students the concept of collaboration, how to work under time pressure and overcome obstacles and challenges. It is amazing how some of these winning teams encountered difficulties at the beginning.

Students from Fairfax County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, and Loudoun County Public Schools competed at the 2018 Northern Virginia Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), a competition to design, build, and race model solar electric cars. The competition was held Sunday October 21, 2018 at Longfellow Middle School.

The goal of the JSS is to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for students in grades 5-8. This year, the event was hosted by Faaiz Memon, current 11th grade student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (TJHSST), in cooperation with Young Scholars Circle, TJ STEMbassadors, Technology Student Association and DC Electric Vehicle Association. Faaiz also conducted free workshops prior to the competition to interested students who competed.

Each JSS team, consisting of two to three members, is tasked to design and build a model solar electric car no larger than 30 x 60 x 30 centimeters powered by sunlight, and race against other teams. The students applied their knowledge of aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance, weight, and drive train to maximize their cars for speed and reliability. The race is a double elimination competition with awards going to the fastest three cars.

“Competing in JSS goes beyond STEM concepts. It teaches students the concept of collaboration, how to work under time pressure and overcome obstacles and challenges. It is amazing how some of these winning teams encountered difficulties at the beginning. Some of them came from the consolation brackets who lost once but emerged victorious at the end,” stated Krishna Belino Cart of Young Scholars Circle.

Each winning team received trophies, medals and gift certificates from Young Scholars Circle: $100 for all the team members who got first place speed winners, $75 for all the second place speed winners, $50 for all the third place speed winners. The list of 2018 winners is below.

ELEMENTARY DIVISION (grades 5-6)
Speed Category
1st place Speed – Mina Marie Gopalakrishnan (5th grade – Beverly Farms ES) Eagles Car

2nd Place Speed – Nolan Edward Mathias and Brian Cali Kantz (6th grade – Pine Spring ES) Gucci Gang Car

3rd place Speed - Eymi Alfaro Siguenza and Layla Mackenzie Zelghi Thomas (5th grade – Pine Spring ES) Solar Pandas Car

MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION (grades 7-8)
Speed Category
1st place Speed – Brandon Kwon, Jun Hee Lee (8th grade, Rocky Run MS) The Hot Dinos Car
2nd place Speed – Pranav Bhimaraju (8th grade - Kilmer MS) and Ramya Reddy (8th grade – Longfellow Middle School) Eco V – Dreamer Car

Special Awards
Most Resourceful– This award was given to a car that creatively incorporates already-used materials in its design and construction.

  •     Middle School Division - Pranav Bhimaraju (8th grade - Kilmer MS) and Ramya Reddy (8th grade – Longfellow Middle School) Eco V – Dreamer Car
  •     Elementary School Division – Richard Vasquez and Yasra Hofyani (6th & 5th grade, Pine Spring ES), Soccer for Life Car

Aesthetics Merit – This award was given to a car that has extra artis¬tic flair or has outstanding visual appeal.

  •         Middle School Division

1st Place: Brandon Kwon, Jun Hee Lee (8th grade, Rocky Run MS) The Hot Dinos Car
2nd Place: Pranav Bhimaraju (8th grade - Kilmer MS) and Ramya Reddy (8th grade – Longfellow Middle School) Eco V – Dreamer Car

  •     Elementary School Division

1st Place: Christopher Rojas (5th grade – Pine Spring ES) The Bobcats Car;
2nd Place: Eymi Alfaro Siguenza and Layla Mackenzie Zelghi Thomas (5th grade – Pine Spring ES) Solar Pandas Car
3rd Place: Lydia Edmonds and Sydney Grimard (5th grade – Pine Spring ES), USL Car

Craftmanship –This was awarded to teams that demonstrated excellent design and construction quality, creativity and originality.

  •     Middle School Division

1st Place: Ramya Reddy (8th grade, Longfellow MS) and Pranav Bhimaraju (8th grade, Kilmer MS), Eco V Dreamers Car
2nd Place: Brandon Kwon, Jun Hee Lee (8th grade, Rocky Run MS), The Hot Dinos Car

  •     Elementary School Division

1st Place: Archishma Marrapu (6th grade, Oak Hill ES) Oakies Car
2nd Place: Eymi Alfaro Siguenza and Layla Mackenzie Zelghi Thomas (5th grade – Pine Spring ES) Solar Pandas Car
3rd Place: Lydia Edmonds and Sydney Grimard ( 5th grade – Pine Spring ES), USL Car

The Northern Virginia JSS is a student-led event. Faaiz Memon, Duke Tran, and Rishi Tadepalli (all from TJHSST) served as judges in choosing the winners for the special awards category. JSS teams took the responsibility for the design, construction, and performance of a model solar electric vehicle. Sue King, the National Coordinator of Technology Student Association (TSA) encouraged everyone to compete again at the regional and national STEM competitions. She stated that students should contact their respective TSA coordinators and gave us a heads up that the national TSA competition will be held in Washington, D.C. next spring.

For more information on upcoming JSS events, classes, and workshops please visit youngscholarscircle.com.

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Krishna Cart
Young Scholars Circle
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