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Students show off their skills in electric car race

A blank piece of paper, wheels, and a motor.

Those are the only three items college and high school students get at the beginning of the school year to help them build an electric car.

Throughout the year they work in teams to make their design dreams come true.

EV Challenge 2016 - Spring Race

On a warm morning, May 28, nine car teams and their cheering fans assembled on UW’s East Campus for the 2016 Waterloo Electric Vehicle Challenge. Having written stories about two of the local teams, I was especially keen to see the cars again and check in with the teams from Sir John A Macdonald Secondary School and Jacob Hespeler Secondary (above, Nate piloting their car down the straightaway).

Darin White here doing a little guest blogging again on the Waterloo Electric Vehicle Challenge site. The old saying “They are all winners” absolutely applies to this event and to the teams that fielded the cars on which they’ve worked so hard throughout the school year. These high school car clubs, made possible by committed staff and keen students, offer a wide variety of hands-on learning opportunities: design and engineering, graphic design, electronics, fabrication, CAD, driving, sponsorship, teamwork, club organization, recruiting, and the list goes on. I’ve got a whole lot of photos here to walk you through the event, but if you really want to know more about this: get involved. Start a club at your school. Volunteer to mentor students. Sponsor your local team.

Read more about the Waterloo High School EV Challenge Spring Race...

A team is born at Jacob Hespeler

Getting started can be the hardest part of any DIY endeavour. In the previous blog post, I talked about getting students involved in the EV Challenge. Today, we’re talking about getting whole schools involved. I visited rookie team Electric Warrior at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School a short twelve days before the EV Challenge race day to see how there were progressing and high-five them for starting a team.

Darin White here doing a little guest blogging again on the Waterloo Electric Vehicle Challenge site. You will definitely want to join us for race day on May 28, 2016 starting at 10:30am. We’ll all be on UW’s east campus at Columbia and Phillip Streets in Waterloo. The map, schedule and info for visitors to this free event can be found right here.

If you want to get a team started at your school, this is a great opportunity to see the cars, meet the teams and get hooked on the enthusiasm of all these makers building electric vehicles. Above (L-R) are the Electric Warriors: Faraz, Nate, Stephanie, Chantel, Mr. Ottema, Michelle, Mr. Johnson and Saxon. Monty, William and Raj on the team were away this day, so with only nine students in total you make up in commitment what you don’t have in numbers. This team formed in November 2015 and believe me: building a car with little previous experience in only six months is a big accomplishment.

Click through for many more photos of Jacob Hespler students building cars and imagine yourself getting involved...

Building cars - building the future at SJAM

SJAM students Livia and Helen fit the rollbar to car 703

They say "seeing is believing", so I thought if I shared some photos of high school students building electric cars then more students would get involved, rightly believing that they can do it, too.

Darin White here doing a little guest blogging on the Waterloo Electric Vehicle Challenge site. I'm helping Waterloo Engineering's Peter Teertstra get some more eyes on this great program. There is a ton of info on the main site, but the one thing I want you to know is that May 28, 2016 is race day. Come out to this free-no-pay event on UW's east campus at Columbia and Phillip Streets in Waterloo. Everyone is welcome. Here are details for getting there.

While races happen a few days annually, the actual building of cars progresses intensely in high schools across Waterloo Region throughout the school year. I know this from the conversations around my own dinner table because my daughter Arden is in her second year of car club at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School. As a maker and a parent, I see the many positive outcomes from this program. WEVC provides opportunities for design, hands-on fabrication and teamwork. It offers motivation for diving into the math and physics behind the design as well as good reasons for learning to use tools and study material science. It is applied engineering and it all starts in Grade 9.

Pictured above are SJAM Grade 9 students Livia and Helen who are test-fitting the rollbar on car #703. You can click on any of these images to enlarge them. 

Tag your social media posts with #WaterlooEVC and follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

I dropped in for SJAM car club after classes last week. Tech teacher and car club mentor Mr. Bluemke reminded everyone about team shirts, an upcoming race in Michigan and then introduced me and my camera.

Click through for many more photos of SJAM students building cars and imagine yourself getting involved...