If you are a teacher, then you have likely found this page because you are looking for opportunities to deliver even better outcomes for your students. It is great to see that kind of motivation in teachers and for that we want to congratulate you.
The benefits of getting started in the MSVC
Now let’s talk about the different ways that being involved in the Model Solar Vehicle Challenge (MSVC) can benefit your students.
An established way to introduce STEM into your teaching
MSVC has been running for 30 years and in that time thousands of students have designed, built, developed and raced solar vehicles. The task of building such a vehicle requires the use of maths, various technologies, engineering practice and the application of scientific knowledge (not to mention the method). It is such a rich project that covers every aspect of STEM (plus more). The fact that it has been running for 30 years, means you know it is a refined program that is valued by many teachers like you for how well it demonstrates STEM to their students. Get started with us if you want a clear path to introducing a solid STEM program to your teaching.
Show sustainability in action
One of the biggest challenges with encouraging sustainability is that people often think sustainable alternatives are just not up to par. When students see their vehicle (and those of other students) racing either on the track or in the pool (and sometimes even in the rain), they find a new understanding of just how much is possible with sustainable technology. Watch videos of the race to see what we are talking about.
If you want to take this event further, then you can also use sustainable materials to build your vehicles.
Instantly introduce advanced and optimum teaching methods
Because of the its nature, the MSVC will mean you have instantly started using many of the comment teaching methods encouraged for superior learning. These include:
- Active learning – students get break from being sedentary when working on the project
- Project based learning – many students in the past have noted how project skills were what was developed most
- Design based learning – because we keep much of this open ended, it is a real design challenge
- Hands on science and hands on learning – students use their own hands and learn about many scientific principles as they are applied
- Experiential learning – instead of reading about these principles, students experience them
- Co-operative learning – we encourage teams of around 3 (see below)
- Problem based learning – you can rest assured that students will overcome many a problem
Develop team skills in your students
An ability to work in teams is an essential skill. Team theory has found that one of the key attributes of a well-functioning team is shared situational awareness and an understanding of what other team members are doing. Working on a system like a solar vehicle, which requires a number of sub systems to be integrated, develops this approach in students. We have found that 3 makes for a good team size at most school levels. However, if your students also need to gain sponsorship (see below), then 4 might be the ideal number.
Enhance management and other soft skills
As alluded above, working on a project like this will increase the ability of students to manage a project, themselves and others. The dynamics of this team work also enhances interpersonal skills. What’s more, some schools also ask students to find sponsorship to fund their project. This can develop extra business and negotiation skills in your students.
Show career options
When students work on the MSVC they apply scientific principle, find technical solutions, negotiate with others, build physical items and experiment to test ideas. These are all attributes of various jobs such as engineering, trades, management, applied science and more. Thus, through this program, students get a chance to see what it could be like in different professions and find what they like. This in turn can show them potential career options and motivate their study when they find an option they like.
Express creativity and ingenuity
Event though this is very much a STEM program, do not make the often made and erroneous assumption that there is no creativity. There are many options to stylise vehicles. And awards are given on the day of the actual challenge for well dressed teams. Apart from these obvious opportunities for creativity, this is also a design project. Design projects need creativity. The word ‘engineering’ actually derives from the Latin for ingenuity, which means something that is both practical and creative. Students who can take on challenges creatively will excel in the MSVC and they will also be inspired to develop these skills after seeing the ideas generated by other students.
Next steps - getting started
Now that you can see the benefits in getting involved in the MSVC, it's time to get started.
- Determine type of vehicle(s) your students want to work on
- Take a look at the regulations for the respective vehicle
- Contact us if you would like some technical support
- Get your vehicle ready
- See you on the day