Chamisa 6th graders who participated in the Electric Car Challenge include Seth Javernick, Owen Wylie, Rosario Dodd, Victoria Raven, Lia Rushton, Maya Carpenter, Julianna McCabe and Ella Javernick. Courtesy/LAPS
Chamisa students with their medals and trophy. Courtesy/LAPS
With support from Los Alamos National Laboratory, two teams of Chamisa Elementary School 6th graders participated in the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge and proudly brought home a 3rd place trophy.
Susan Hettinga, a teacher at Chamisa Elementary School, was the “ringleader” of the eight students who participated – Victoria Raven, Lia Rushton, Maya Carpenter, Rosario Dodd, Seth Javernick, Owen Wylie, Julianna McCabe and Ella Javernick.
The Electric Car Challenge, a competition for 6-8th graders, consisted of three categories: a battery-powered model car race, design competition and the option to compete in an oral presentation.
Hettinga’s two teams did so well that both Chamisa teams were in the top 16 out of about 56 teams in every category, and most impressively, the team made up by Ella Javernick, Julianna McCabe, Victoria Ravenl and Lia Rushton even won 3rd place in the Race Competition.
According to the guidelines, “The challenge was developed to provide a hands-on opportunity for students to understand the need for renewable energy sources and explore the emerging technology of electric vehicles.” The goal is to stimulate creative thinking through a hands-on design project and generate enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills at a crucial age. This year, about 300 middle school students from around the state participated in the competition.
The teams were provided a kit with the basic tools and instructions needed to create a battery model car, but it was up to the students to design an efficient model that could hold a 1.5 lb. canister of salt while speedily crossing the finish line.
After the competition, Hettinga’s students reflected on their performance and the process. One student said, “I really like how everyone gets to work with the car and make a design.” Others wished they’d had more time to develop their projects, but enjoyed racing the cars and being able to try something they had never done before.
The challenge was sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, Los Alamos Public Schools, Albuquerque Public Schools, Sandia National Laboratories, , and Huntington Ingalls Industries.