Iowa State’s solar cars wow students at North Fayette Valley

Iowa State University’s solar cars  inspire imagination and discussion at North Fayette Valley High School in West Union. North Fayette Valley science and I-Tech students met and interacted with college engineering students while asking questions about the solar car program on Monday.

During the meeting, PrISUm team member Jeff Christensen, a junior in mechanical engineering, cruised around the school parking lot in the solar car Hyperion for a demonstration that showed how a solar car handles at the North Fayette Valley High School.

“I was excited to see the interaction between high school and undergrad minds regarding science,” said Megan Boyer, a science teacher at North Fayette Valley High School.

When the North Fayette School District this year began whole-grade sharing with Valley Schools, officials shuttered Hawkeye Elementary. Hawkeye Economic Development, business leaders and community members met to brainstorm ideas on how the one-story building might find new purpose.

One concept proposes using Phoenix, one of the PrISUm team’s solar vehicles, as a focal point for learning. Jeff Rhode, general manager of Hawkeye Telephone, said officials from Northeast Iowa Community College seemed enthusiastic about how the former school might provide classroom space.

In the meantime, North Fayette Valley students will likely begin exploring the technology behind Iowa State’s solar cars. Boyer said she hopes to use Monday’s demonstration as a focal point for discussion in her classroom later this week.

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