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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 plan and conduct scientific investigations to answer testable questions, and collect and summarise data to communicate conclusions (ST3-1WS-S)
  • Students explain how energy is transformed from one form to another (ST3-8PW-ST)
  • Students investigate the effects of increasing or decreasing the strength of a specific contact or non-contact force (ST3-9PW-ST)

Inquiry questions

  • How can we make a force stronger or weaker?
  • What types of energy transformations can be observed?
  • How can electricity be used in a product or system?


Describing and exploring specific forces


  • explore and describe some common contact or non-contact forces
  • perform a scientific investigation to explore the effects of changing the strength of a single contact or non-contact force

Transfer and transformation of energy


  • identify different types of energy transformations
  • investigate how electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097) SciT SysT

Forces and energy in products and systems


  • design, test and evaluate a product or system that involves an energy transformation to meet an identified need using electrical energy ComT DesT

Learning experiences

Students learn how solar cells use energy from the sun to generate electricity. They learn how a simple generator works.

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 experiment ways to increase the speed of their car, such as adjusting the panel, changing gear size or changing tire size. They participate in a solar car race.

They summarise the various energy transformations involved in the solar car running.