Solar Car Challenge

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
Subjects: Science, Technology


In this challenge, students are provided with materials to design and build their own solar cars. The goal is for students to use an iterative design process to create a solar car that goes a set distance in the shortest amount of time.

If your school requires a Solar Car Kit, please contact the COE-Energy lead.

NB Curricular Connections

Science 6-8

  • Strand: Scientific Literacy – Big Ideas: Investigation; Sensemaking; Communication
  • Strand: Learning and Living Sustainably – Big Idea: Responsible and Sustainable Application

Science 9-10

  • Strand: Scientific Literacy – Big Ideas: Investigation; Sensemaking; Communication
  • Strand: Learning and Living Sustainably – Big Ideas: Responsible and Sustainable Application; Responsible Application and Sustainable Practices

What You’ll Need

  • Download “The Solar Car Learner Instructions” (attached) and print one per group
  • Any solar car kit – contact the COE Energy if you’d like a kit sent to your school
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tape / Glue
  • Boxboard / Cardboard
  • Stopwatch
  • Additional building materials (cardboard, cereal boxes, tape, glue, etc)


  1. Choose an applicable day for this activity as testing will be done outside. Preferably warm, sunny, and free of wind for best results.
  2. Provide an introduction to solar energy and renewable energy. Consider the following videos:
  3. Next, hand out “The Solar Car Learner Instructions” and have students read the background information and answer the pre-lab questions. There is a question on calculating velocity (constant), it may be a good idea to review this before starting the activity.
  4. After completing the pre-activity, distribute the materials to student groups.
  5. Have the learner research and design their solar car, provide the opportunity for students to test their designs and fill in the data table on the “The Solar Car Learner Instructions”.
  6. If time permits allow the students to modify their designs and perform further tests.
  7. Set-up an outside track of 10 meters and allow the students to compete with their designs by using a stopwatch to determine results.
  8. Determine the winner and discuss the results with the class.

Extension Ideas

Assessment Ideas

  • Consider using a rubric or checklist as learners work through the design process
  • Consider have the learners write a lab report based on

Reflection Activity


Global Competencies

The Global Competencies are the skills, sets of knowledges, and attitudes of a well-rounded person. They cross disciplines and contexts, and enable a person to thrive in local, virtual, and global communities.


The Solar Car Challenge was developed using solar cars from Flynn Scientific


You may also like