Northwest ISD Navigator Magazine October 2017 - Page 8

Byron Nelson students get career head start with solar cars By Anthony Tosie For many adults, the extent of engineering learned in high school ended with basic electrical wiring. For a group of Byron Nelson High School students, it ends with making a solar-powered electric car. Each summer following their school’s opening in 2009, Byron Nelson students have participated in the Solar Car Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. The event challenges high school students to design, engineer and build solar cars to race against their peers. Students either race at Texas Motor Speedway or complete a cross-country course to a 8 predetermined destination, depending on the race’s format for the year. Students on Byron Nelson’s solar car team annually spend the entire school year and a large portion of summer making their vehicle for the race. During the 2016-17 school year, that meant designing the car in a software program around the time school started and beginning the building process late in the fall. The process often means working on weekends during the school year and spending long hours to finish the car over the summer.