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Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Telephone02 9542 1951

Solar cars

Science and technology – physical world

Program overview

Students follow instructions to build a model solar car. They make improvements to their car and participate in a solar car race.

Session details

75 minutes. Up to 3 sessions (one class each) per day.

Key syllabus outcomes

  • Students question, plan and conduct scientific investigations, collect and summarise data and communicate using scientific representations (ST2-1WS-S)
  • Students describe the characteristics and effects of common forms of energy, such as light and heat (ST2-8PW-ST)

Inquiry questions

  • How do light, heat and electrical energy make things happen?
  • How can objects affect other objects with or without touching them?
  • How can we use forces and energy in a product or system?


Energy makes things happen (heat, light and electricity)


  • explore some common sources and uses of electrical energy and describe different ways electrical energy can be generated sustainably, for example: (ACSSU219)
    • solar cells

Contact and non-contact forces


  • observe how contact and non-contact forces cause changes in the motion of objects, for example: (ACSSU076) 
    • changes in speed

Forces and energy in products and systems


  • investigate how forces and materials interact in a product or system to perform a function (ACTDEK011) ComT SciT SysT

Learning experiences

Students learn how solar cells use energy from the sun to generate electricity. They follow instructions to collect materials and build a solar car in groups of 2-3. They test and troubleshoot to get their car running. Once running, they consider and experiment ways to increase the speed of their car, such as adjusting the panel, changing gear size or changing tire size. Near the end of the session, they participate in a solar car race.