When I was a kid, I had a school excursion to some science exhibition where they taught us about renewable and non-renewable energy sources. They had a model “energy saver” house that ran almost entirely on renewable energy sources. It left quite an impression on me and it made me a whole lot more conscious about being “green”.
I have always wanted to teach the boys to be more aware of our environment, especially on energy conservation. Our visit to Gardens by the Bay was a great way to open the discussion with G1 (G2 was still a little young when we first visited).
While I was in Japan, I saw this cool solar car kit from Yonemura Denjiro Science Production. I thought it would be a great way to expose the boys to a source of renewable energy that they don’t really see a lot of. It was a nice and easy science activity for the boys that wouldn’t require too much technical “know how” so I got the kit.
The instructions were in Japanese, but we were able to follow how to construct the car from the self-explanatory diagrams.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been having much direct sunlight lately. According to the diagrams on the instructions, it should work with artificial light, but none of the mobile light sources we at our house is powerful enough to get the car going, except for a stand light. What a way to burst the bubble of excitement…
It did give us an opportunity to talk about solar power and to watch a video on how solar powered cars work…
You can read all about it on “How Stuff Works“.
We also discovered that there is a real world solar powered car that drives up to 800km on a single charge! It certainly gives the electric car a real run for its money. You can read more about the solar car here.
You can also make your own solar car model from scratch following these instructions from Technology Student or you can take the easy way out and buy an easy-to-assemble-solar-car-kit. There are more instructions at these other sites:
- Mini-science gear propulsion solar car
- Home Science Tools: Design and build a solar car
- e-How: how to make a mini solar car