Tillamook PUD partnered with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Neah-Kah-Nie School District this past week, June 5 and 6, to bring a unique clean-energy Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) educational opportunity to 120 local Tillamook County grade school students. After a review and analysis of energy, 4th and 5th grade students from Garibaldi Grade School and Nehalem Elementary worked with Tillamook PUD volunteer staff through the engineering process to create and construct a solar car. “Students were highly focused and thrilled to build their very own solar cars,” remarked Neah-Kah-Nie School District Superintendent Paul Erlebach. “Some students were so engaged with this renewable energy activity they skipped recess in order to continue assembling their solar cars.” Erlebach says.
Students were encouraged to take what they learned and think ingeniously when designing and constructing their car. “I liked building the cars the most,” one participating student said. “It was fun, we got to see if it (car) worked, and if it didn’t we could add on to it,” a Garibaldi Grade School student remarked. Students were able to take their completed car home along with a bag of additional parts to enhance or change their car.
At the end of each day students, Tillamook PUD staff and school staff went outside to see the power of the sun in action as they raced their cars. “This is a great way to end the year,” Nehalem Elementary Principal Kristi Woika reflected, “having students work with local business partners.” Tillamook PUD is very pleased to have the opportunity to be involved with, and help support renewable energy and STEM activities at local area schools.