FAU Pine Jog Presents Inaugural South FL EnergyWhiz Expo
Blue Thunder Team, NSU University School, winner of Grand Prize for Junior Solar Sprint (JSS). From left to right are EnergyWhiz program coordinator Alicia Torres, team member Tyler Greene, Pine Jog executive director Ray Coleman, and team member Peyton Greene.
Florida Atlantic University Pine Jog Environmental Education Center coordinated the first South Florida EnergyWhiz Expo at A.D. Henderson University School on the FAU Boca Raton campus. More than 140 elementary and middle school students in Palm Beach and Broward counties competed in Junior Solar Sprint and/or Solar Energy Cook-off events.
“It’s just as important for students to understand the engineering design process as it is to present the final engineered product,” saidAnne Henderson, director of education at the Center.“As such, teams were recognized for their achievements in both design and innovation, in addition to performance.”
The Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) event showcased projects from teams of two to four students whose goal was to design, construct and race a small solar-powered vehicle along a guide wire down a 20-meter long track. In addition to technical specs and craftsmanship, cars were judged on creativity and the use of unique, environmentally-friendly materials. When it came time to race, speed was the determining factor. Teams competed in time trials and exciting head-to-head double elimination finals.
The Solar Energy Cook-off (SCO) event gave teams the opportunity to present self-designed and built solar cookers. They prepared and cooked dishes using only the power of the sun. Judges interviewed teams about the science behind their cookers and recipe choices. Cooker designs were judged on function, creativity and durability. Extra points were awarded for using local, sustainable produce, and upcycled materials. Culinary judging was based on taste, presentation, nutrition and difficulty.
“The Expo was amazing and I could not be more appreciative and proud of everyone involved with inspiring and working with these students,” said Ray Coleman, executive director at the Center, who also presided over the opening ceremony. “It’s great to see so many young people perform so well in a STEM competition with an environmental focus.”
FAU President John Kelly kicked off the festivities with a resounding welcome to student participants, school coordinators, volunteers and staff. Other special guests in attendance were Robert S. Weinroth, Palm Beach County commissioner, and Monica Mayotte, City of Boca Raton Council member, who also volunteered as an official timer for the JSS event. Florida Power & Light sponsored the Expo with Go Solar Power sponsoring the Junior Solar Sprint car competition.
First-place awardees received a registration voucher to the 2019 EnergyWhiz state competition. Grand prize winners of $100 were the Blue Thunder team from NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale for the JSS event and the Solar Six team from Meadow Park Elementary School in West Palm Beach for the SCO event.
2019 South Florida EnergyWhiz Expo winners by division and grade level were as follows:
JSS Green Division, grades 3-5
- First Place All-Around – Diva Unicorns, NSU University School
- First Place Race Performance – Solar Racers!, Central Park Elementary School
- First Place Design – Solar Girl Power!, Central Park Elementary School
- First Place Innovation – WBA Oofers, West Broward Academy
- Second Place Race Performance – Diva Unicorns, NSU University School
- Second Place Design – WBA Oofers, West Broward Academy
- Second Place Innovation – Solar Girl Power!, Central Park Elementary School
JSS Blue Division, grades 6-8
- First Place All-Around – Blue Thunder, NSU University School
- First Place Race Performance – Blue Thunder, NSU University School
- First Place Design – Lightning Bolts, North Broward Preparatory School
- First Place Innovation – Ray Catchers, Advent Lutheran School
- Second Place Race Performance – Hoot-Dini’s, A.D. Henderson University School
- Second Place Design – Owl-Force 1, A.D. Henderson University School
- Second Place Innovation – Catching a Ray-ve, Advent Lutheran School
SCO Yellow Division, grades 3-5
- First Place All-Around – Solar Six, Meadow Park Elementary School
- First Place Culinary Performance – Solar Six, Meadow Park Elementary School
- First Place Design – Solar Six, Meadow Park Elementary School
- Second Place Culinary Performance – Sunshine Perfection, Pine Jog Elementary School
- Second Place Design – Sunshine Perfection, Pine Jog Elementary School
SCO Orange Division, grades 6-8
- First Place All-Around – Chef Sol, Grandview Preparatory School
- First Place Culinary Performance – Chef Sol, Grandview Preparatory School
- First Place Design – Wolfpack Team 1, Westglades Middle School
- Second Place Culinary Performance – Solar Flares, Turtle River Montessori
- Second Place Design – Chef Sol, Grandview Preparatory School
To learn more about the South Florida EnergyWhiz Expo and awardees, contact Alicia Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Goebel at email@example.com. or visit http://www.pinejog.fau.edu/educator-programs/energy-whiz.php.
Pine Jog Environmental Education Center is a unit of the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University. Since 1960, Pine Jog has been fulfilling its mission of developing, modeling and providing educational programs and services which foster awareness and appreciation of the natural world, promote understanding of environmental concepts and instill a sense of stewardship. For more information, contact Pine Jog at 561-686-6600 or visit www.pinejog.fau.edu.