HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-- Huntsville City Schools hosted 24 middle school teams from across the Southeast to compete in the GreenpowerUSA F24 races on Saturday. Teams traveled from across Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee to race electric vehicles designed and built by the students for the competition.
Greenpower is a STEM-based initiative that engages students by using STEM skills to design, build, and race an electric car. Each team is given a strict set of guidelines and are required to use the same standard motor and batteries in the vehicle.
Greenpower USA was launched here in the U.S. by Huntsville City Schools back in 2014 as an innovative way to expand STEM-related education to students. The program has since grown and has school districts in several states that participate.
Drew Sparks, the Lead Instructor for Huntsville City Schools Greenpower, says the STEM-based program has grown like wildfire.
"We have over 20 events nationwide from every corner of the country doing the exact same thing we are doing here in Huntsville," says Sparks.
Drew Sparks says this program is available for grades 4 through 12. He says it's a creative way to get kids involved in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.
"Hands-on learning, project-based learning. They are learning how to read diagrams, work together as a team and even look at different fields they might be interested in later on," says Sparks.
Huntsville City Schools is seeing results for the efforts with two national champion teams last year and nine others placing in the top ten.
"Scores are computed through presentation scores and race results. It's just like in professional racing where they have season points and standings and the teams are trying to win a national championship," says Sparks.
Huntsville City Schools has Greenpower programs throughout the district, with racetracks located on the campuses of Whitesburg, Jemison / McNair, and Grissom. The Greenpower Initiative began in the United Kingdom in 1999, and now has programs in not only the U.S., but South Africa, China, and Poland.
Video contributed by Cougar Strong Racing from Long Cane Middle School, LaGrange GA.