junior solar sprint

The 2020 running of Maine's Junior Solar Sprint program is cancelled—off the track and in the pit, pandemically speaking. We hope to be back at the starting line ready to go in 2021. In the meantime, may our star light up your life.

Have you ever seen a solar powered carrot on wheels? Probably not...unless you were on hand for that year's State Finals of the Maine Junior Solar Sprint Model Solar Electric Car program for middle schools, now entering its 26th season! It's all about engineering...and creativity!

  students preparing to race their cars

Students, alone or in teams of 2-4, are handed a 2.76 watt solar panel and a motor and challenged to design, build and test (race) a vehicle than can successfully negotiate a 20 meter track using only the radiant energy of our star. (Two AA batteries are substituted if Sol is on strike.) Myriad variables confront the kids: From what materials should our chassis be made? What type of wheel---and what size---would work well? Should we use gears? pulleys? direct drive? What IS a transmission anyway?

student celebrating a win

Engineering; science concepts like gear ratio, friction, aerodynamics; cooperative, hands-on learning. What's there not to like? As a potential adult mentor, where do you begin? We suggest a free mentor workshop, which will be held Saturday, March 28, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Marshwood Great Works School in South Berwick. You will actually build a vehicle, learning about the array of building materials, and where to scrounge or purchase them. Thanks to the Maine 4-H Foundation, we can offer mentors a $150 stipend for materials.


Qualifying races are held at schools in May, to determine which teams will be invited to the State Finals on Saturday, June 6 at Winslow Junior High. SECA is available, for a fee, to oversee a qualifying event, if desired.


Peter Zack
Sacopee Energy & Climate Activities

Download list of JSS materials here!

Download Rules & Regulations here!