Every year, Groveland Elementary holds its Solar Sprint car race, where students form teams, construct solar-powered cars and race them. The Groveland Solar Sprint inspires fifth grade students to get creative and work together to solve problems and learn about the science behind how the cars they build work. But due to COVID-19, the race was not able to be held in its normal fashion. Despite the obstacles, students and staff remained determined to push forward to learn and have fun.
"We were in the middle of forming teams and purchasing kits when the pandemic sent us all home," recalls Brent Frank, a fifth grade teacher at Groveland and the race's organizer. "Right away it just felt like we had to try and finish the year with this project in place."
With kits already ordered, students were able to do a curbside pickup of supplies at Groveland. And with the help of a demo video that Mr. Frank was able to record showing students how the cars are raced, the car building began.
Mr. Frank knows that building these solar-powered cars is difficult in person, so working virtually with teammates to construct cars this year was even more of a challenge. But students' hard work and determination paid off. Some students were able to fully construct their own cars and race them on their own.
Over the course of the past month, Mr. Frank has received videos of students racing the cars they built at home. And even if it might not be exactly how everyone wanted it to turn out, Mr. Frank is proud of his students' hard work. "I was just so proud and excited that they had stuck it out and persevered," he says.
While the Solar Sprint was not able to be held like normal, seeing the determination of Groveland students and staff to continue the event in any way they could shows the passion for learning and growth that is ever so present in the Minnetonka school district. Congratulations to all students who were able to construct and race their cars, and thank you to Mr. Frank and everyone who made this year's virtual Solar Sprint possible!