Event: Junior Solar Sprint Division: 3-5
School: Buck Lake Elementary Team Size: 1

The Three Mascots

Evan, 3rd grade Digital Learner @ Buck Lake

Close-Ups of Car Design

What did I use?

  • tape
  • clay for decoration
  • plastic for base
  • solar panel
  • wheels (one without a tire)
  • legos
  • banana clips
  • rubber band
  • pulley engine
  • axles from kebab skewers
  • ping pong ball for Pac Man!

Dimensions of Car:

10 inches wide by 6 inches tall by 11 inches long

My Test Run

(The shadow is 10 meters from the starting line in this video.)

How Did I Make “The Three Mascots” Solar Car?

Part 1: My Mario Cart

Well, when I started I made it Mario Themed. I added the wheels, and kept them on by using tape. I attached the engine using legos, and built a perch for my ball. I wanted it to move by the wheel and the engine to touch, moving it.

after a small break with my mom, I went onto the design. I made a whole Mario scene using clay. I even made a 3D Mario! then, I got my solar panel. I taped it onto my car. It finally looked finished. Another one of my team members and I tested it out in our backyard, and it worked!

Sometime after, we went to my school in person and tested the “Mario Cart” out. It worked well at first. Then, the wiring would not connect. Another boy at the school with us told me the problem, and some ideas how to fix it. “The problem is the wheels, ” he told me. “You should try using a rubber band to keep the engine and the wheel moving together?” I soon went to test it out. We started the video and it moved… about a foot. The engine drive kept slipping off the wheel. We went home to work on it.

Part 2: The Redesign

One of my team members and I spent the rest of the time until dinner talking about the design cycle. The next day, we worked on the car again. My team member helped me hot glue on the motor so that it wouldn’t fall off. I also replaced one of the wheels with another wheel without the tire, and attached the tire and the engine with a rubber band. Then we went outside to test it. While I tested, I found a problem. Well, two.

  1. The wheel without the tire was too short to drive the car, and it made the car off balance.
  2. The wheel wasn’t attached to the axle, so it was spinning but not pushing the car forward very much.

To fix number 1, I added back on the wheel that was replaced. The other tireless wheel still being there. That balanced it.

To fix number 2, I taped the wheels to the axle. How did I do this? Well, I got a large piece of tape and partly put it on the axle, and partly put it on the wheel. So if one of the wheels turned, it would turn the axle, turning the other one of the wheels.

When I tested it again, it worked great!

The next day, after school, I went to my school in person again to record my car. it took lots of tries, but we got a video! (Look up for the video)

Part Three: The New Recruits!

After we got the car rolling, I changed my theme up a little bit. Instead of just Mario, how about I add some other iconic characters? 3D Mario kept falling off, so I decided to remake him just 2d. I had to wonder: Who are two very popular characters? Of course, Pac-Man came to mind. I cut out a mouth out of my ping pong ball, and added two black clay eyes. I also gave him a few cherries made out of clay, knowing that this man’s gotta eat! It took me a little bit to think of this, but I decided to do the dinosaur jump game. Anyone that has ever used Google Chrome will most likely know about him! When the clay decorations were complete, I taped up my wires. I finally felt like it was complete!

How Do Solar Cars Really Work?

Imagine this: the sun hits a car, and the car starts going. Now, how does this work? It’s not that simple. First, the sun’s rays hit a solar panel on the car, which starts turning light energy into electrical energy. The electrical energy powers up the engine, making the car work. This means that the electrical energy turns to kinetic energy, moving the car. Keep in mind that not all solar cars use only solar energy. Most use chemical energy through gasoline and batteries as well as solar, because at night, there might not be enough sunlight for the car to move.

Who’s On The Team?

Evan

occupation: Student, 3rd grade

status in team: leader/main maker of car

Julie

occupation: teacher/guardian

status in team: pre-leader/helped me the most

Russell

occupation: computers/dad

status in team: member/gave some ideas

Kaycee

occupation: social worker/mom

status in team: pre-pre-leader/helped the second most

5 thoughts on “The Three Mascots

  • May 5, 2021 at 11:47 am
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    Quite a cast of characters! Great explanation of the project and adjustments that you made. Looks like great team work as well. The tape on the solar panel may have blocked some of the light, so you should avoid any obstructions like that so that you can increase the car’s performance. Great work, congratulations and good luck!

    Reply
  • May 5, 2021 at 10:51 am
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    Great art work on the car, and it moved pretty fast too, nice job!

    Reply
  • May 5, 2021 at 9:30 am
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    Love the clay characters cute ping pong Pac man

    Reply
  • May 3, 2021 at 2:27 pm
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    Love the Pac Man, Dino jump, and Mario! The introduction was awesome! Amazing Job!

    Reply

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