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It was Solar RASE Final day at Kadina High School

The Lismore App

Simon Mumford

22 August 2023, 8:21 AM

It was Solar RASE Final day at Kadina High School

The 2023 Solar RASE (Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence) finals were held at Kadina High School today for both primary and high school students, with Albert Park winning the primary school race and Kadina winning the high school pursuit race under mostly sunny skies.


(The finalists lined up before the final race. Nichols Haggett (Albert Park) and Loretta Bening (Bexhill) in the grand final for the primary school division, and Ziyone Miti and Bradley Harris (Richmond River) took on Miles Power, Isireli Cawa and Sage Patch (Kadina))


The heats for primary school students on August 5 at Modanville was a cloudy day, so batteries had to be used, but today the races were conducted under total solar power, even if race times had to be delayed as some cloud cover moved across the sky.



STEM is an approach to learning and development that integrates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through STEM, students develop key skills, including problem-solving. This was put to good use throughout the Solar RASE project.


The Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence is part of a government program called SIS, School Industry School Partnership, where 10 to 11 schools participate in a solar car challenge.


For some of the students, this was about a day-off school work but for others, it was a chance to build a fast solar car that would stay on the track.



Primary school entrants raced down a 20-metre track, while high school entrants raced around an oval track in a pursuit-style event where one car had to catch up to the other.



Nicholas Haggett from Albert Park Primary School (PS) and Loretta Bening from Bexhill PS contested the final on the straight track. As you can see by the photo, it went down to the wire with Nicholas' Albert Park solar car just taking the honours.



Bradley Harris and Ziyone Miti from Richmond River High School (HS) took on Miles Power, Isireli Cawa and Sage Patch from Kadina on the oval track.



Miles, Isireli and Sage had the faster car from the outset and won the high school division.



Team Kadina said their success was adding a guide to the car. "That made our car go lower to the lower to the ground otherwise it would have flown off the track. We straightened out our solar panels so that it's flat the entire way. Wiring counts. If you wire good, then your car will go faster."



Nicholas from Albert Park said his secret was angling his solar panels towards the sun. "I've angled it so it catches more of the light. The more light you get the more power your car receives."


As for lessons learnt from the term-long Solar RASE project? Nicholas said, "I've learnt that I'm pretty good at engineering. I could be an engineer."


From an organiser's point of view, Karen Ramsay said the students learnt about problem-solving and resilience through the term.



"So, during the last 8 to 10 weeks, they have learned how to problem solve. They become more resilient, I think. If they find something wrong with their car, they keep working at it to try and get something to make it better."


"I think they've all picked up some skills that they can take with them into life."

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