Long Beach Solar Grand Prix orientation planned for Jan 23

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solar-grand-prixMore than 260 students and their coaches are expected to attend the orientation workshop on how to participate in the first annual Long Beach Solar Grand Prix announced 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske.

Schipske and her 5th District Solar and Sustainability Task Force are sponsoring the Solar Grand Prix on April 10, 2010 which provides students, grades 6-12, a chance to design and build a solar-powered model car and then complete a race in the shortest possible time using the available solar power. The Long Beach Solar Grand Prix will be held at Good Neighbor Park, 2800 N. Studebaker Road, Long Beach.

Schipske is requiring registered participants to attend a brief orientation (January 23) to hear information on the basics of solar cells and car design. Teams had to pre-register with her office in December. Teams will receive a solar car kit, which includes a solar panel and an electric motor. Competitors will design and build a model solar-powered vehicle that will race on a 65-foot race course. The winner of the competition will be the team whose vehicle is the top finisher in a series of head to head elimination rounds.

The Solar Grand Prix challenges students to use scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation, and teamwork to design and build high-performance model solar vehicles. To assist students and teachers, Councilwoman Schipske has provided links to educational and curriculum materials that can be used by teachers at: click here

Information to be presented at the Long Beach Solar Grand Prix Orientation meeting

Opening remarks from Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and Patrick Vogel. Councilwoman Schipske represents the Fifth Council District. She started a local Solar and Sustainability Taskforce to focus on alternative energy issues. Pat Vogel completed the mechanical engineering program at California State University, Long Beach and designed and built the first solar car on the campus. Currently, he is creating lasting public art in the City of Long Beach. His most notable work in Long Beach is the Penny Farthing bicycle sculpture seen around the city.

Patrick Redgate will provide the basic information on solar cells and how they store and provide power. Redgate is the founder of Ameco Solar and a licensed solar energy contractor operating principally in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Ameco designs, installs and repairs solar energy systems for homes and businesses in Southern California.

Matthew McHale will give an overview of the Long Beach Solar Grand Prix and show a video showing a solar car race held in Colorado. Mr. McHale is a Neighbor Liaison in the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and also serves as the staff representative for the Solar and Sustainability Taskforce.

CSULB Mechanical Engineering students, Adam Rowe and Ryan Gardner, will explain to students about vehicle construction and design. After he graduates, Mr. Rowe hopes to work with and design electric vehicles. Mr. Rowe and Mr. Gardner will also be working with students who request assistance and serving as race day inspectors.

Information about the Solar Grand Prix Competition

  • Each team will receive a Solar car kit.
  • The motor and solar panel contained in the kit must be used without modification. The remainder of the vehicle must be the students’ own design and can be made from any other materials.
  • Sunlight will be the only power source for the vehicle. No batteries or energy storage devices are permitted.
  • The vehicle must fit within the following dimensions: 1 foot (ft) x 2 ft x 1 ft.
  • The car must have a chassis that is three-dimensional. Teams will NOT be allowed to bolt the axles and wheels of the car directly to the solar module. The solar module cannot be used as the chassis of the car.
  • Teams are comprised of 2 – 4 members.
  • Each team will have a coach (teacher, parent, or other volunteer) who can assist the students.
  • Race participants must be in 6 – 12 grades, and must be a resident of Long Beach, or attend an LBUSD school or a Long Beach private school.
  • Awards will be given to the middle school team and high school team with the fastest vehicle, and for creative design.

The orientation meeting is required for anyone that plans to participate in the Solar Grand Prix. The meeting will take place January 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Teams will receive their Solar car kit at the orientation meeting!

The Solar Grand Prix will take place April 10, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For more information about the Long Beach Solar Grand Prix, contact Councilwoman Gerrie Schipskes office by calling 562.570.6932 or the 5th Council District Solar and Sustainability Task Force members: Michelle Bills at 562.400.3594 or Jaime Guoz: 562.773-8158.

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