12th Annual Berkshire Junior Solar Sprint

Area Middle School Students to Compete in Junior Solar Sprint

Solar Sprint 2010

The Berkshire JSS is organized by the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) and sponsored by the Berkshire Gas Company, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Western Massachusetts Electric Company, MCLA STEM Pipeline Network, Energy Federation, Inc., the U.S. Department of Energy, and other local sponsors.

Cynthia Grippaldi of Center for EcoTechnology writes:

On Saturday, June 4, area middle school students will gather at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield for the twelfth annual Berkshire Junior Solar Sprint (JSS). More than 80 students from across and beyond Berkshire County are expected to participate in the JSS this year.

The Junior Solar Sprint competition was started by the US Department of Energy in 1991 to expose students to photovoltaics and its potential for their future. The JSS is a fun and educational competition for students in grades 5-8 who work in teams to design, build and race model solar vehicles powered by the sun. The students are challenged to use scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork. In the process they learn firsthand about engineering, physics and non-polluting transportation.

Registration for students begins at 8:30 a.m. Judging of entries begins at 9:30 and races begin at 10 a.m.. The solar vehicles will be judged for speed, craftsmanship, innovation and technical merit, and the top three winners in each category will be eligible to compete in the regional JSS championship in Springfield on June 12. In addition, there is a prize for ‘Best Use of recycled Materials’ and a student’s choice ‘Best in Show’.

For more information about the JSS or CET’s solar energy curriculum, contact Cynthia Grippaldi at 413-445-4556, ext. 25 or cynthiag@cetonline.org. CET is a non-profit community organization working to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management and environmental education in western MA since 1976. CET is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

(Photo credit: George Joch, courtesy Argonne National Laboratory)

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