Solar Powered Golf Cart

Educator Name: Evva Dossin
School Name: Romeo Engineering and Technology Center

We at Romeo have worked extreamly hard to start a strong and noteworthy "Alternative Energy" program. This new class running for the first time in the 2011-2012 school year will cover topics such building energy audits, solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, hydro-power, vehicle alternative energy to name a few.It is an agreed fact that the United States’ high demand for energy is contributing towards negative consequences of foreign oil reliance, depletion of non-renewable resources and rising energy costs. At the same time, the state of Michigan is also growing “green” jobs at an aggressive rate, and as the industry increases, more skilled professionals will be in demand. For this reason, the educational community at both the high school and university levels are gearing, retooling, and seeking out ways to respond to the new demand for green job career pathways. In result, the creation of the “Alternative Energy in Romeo Community Schools”, program is being put into motion, setting its goal towards being a Michigan pilot high school, aiming to educate students in the energy and sustainability areas. Romeo plans on educating initially high school students, but then later all the way down to the elementary level, to appropriately prepare them for future secondary education, prospects of alternative energy careers, and be better informed consumers and contributing members of the working field. Students will be prepared for these opportunities through classes, labs, hands-on activities, on-site installation of 20kW photovoltaic system; a future planned wind turbine, field trips, guest speakers, presentations, post-secondary partners for articulation agreements, co-op opportunities, local industry partner support and exposure, and continued professional development education for teachers. One of our hands-on project ideas, and the reason I am applying for this grant, is for the students to turn a golf cart into a solar-powered. This class project will not only be very educational for the solar and vehicle alternative energy segments, but simply by its nature, be fun, engaging, exciting, and create a great deal of positive exposure for the Alternative Energy class. Who doesn't love to drive around in a golf cart?

The Solar Powered Golf Cart project will encompass two segements of the class currciulm, Solar Energy and Vehicle Alterntaive Energy. It will allow students to explore and understand a non-traditional fuel source for power. Being part of the "motor-city" culture and the excitement of the electric car the Chevy Volt, this hands-on project will allow the students to reap great benifits once its completition. Working in a team will not only teach the students about solar power, but also skills such as leadership and teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking skills,and explore development and design theories. Once completed the students will be able to drive the golf cart, a great reward for their efforts. Once converted, we also plan on having the students use the golf cart at school events such as football games, to show the community what they can accomplish.

There are many trends showing students are interested and increasingly following through on alternative means of energy production as well as conservation. At this year's Romeo High School graduation, tips from Kindergartners were given to the Seniors, which included telling them to turn off the lights, don’t waste water, and protect the environment. Students are intrested in this area, and allowing them to convert the cart will give them a great sence of accomplishment. In the area of Career and Technical Education, which this class will be run, focus on student learning of relevant curriculum, proper instruction, and assessment is vital. Hands-on projects which take the students outside the classroom, such as this one, allow them to learn and make connections to truly grasp the full concept of a project. The solar powered golf cart is also an ideal way of giving the students an opportunity to see the technology of solar power in working form.