In my March 22 blog I detailed the effort by Granite Falls High School in preparing two cars to compete in Houston, TX in the Shell Oil EcoMarathon. Mentioned was a documentary that Shell was preparing about 2 of the competing universities and our favorite, the Granite Falls Eco Auto Team. The producers focused on the Granite Falls program, and specifically on the all-girls auto, The Iron Maiden, and one of our graduates now at MIT. The Urban Car team, while not featured labored diligently upgrading their 4th year car, Phillipe’s Revenge.
The future in the US for education is STEM training early in the education process. This Eco Team Project promotes the goals of STEM education and we are proud of the contribution that our small school in the NW is making to the STEM movement.
The 16 eco team members also mentored primary and middle school students by helping them design & build auto models, experience wind tunnel testing and seeing the Eco Cars in action. Primary and junior high students hold the high school team members in high esteem. The high schooler’s teaching not only was a great learning experience for them, but opened future possibilities to the younger students. This teaching process serves to promote a “minor league feeder system” for future Granite Falls Eco Car teams. Cudos to Michael Werner, manufacturing teacher and concept leader, the primary and middle school teachers, the Granite Falls principal and superintendent for making this effort more than just a high school project.
This is a grueling process, with much school and personal time required of students, teacher/leader and highly qualified professional volunteers who teach skills such as engine and transmission design, welding, electronics and team building. There is corporate and personal fund raising by the students and Mr. Werner. A volunteer hauls the two cars to Houston every year in a trailer loaned by another business owner.
Team members, volunteers and educators have their reward when they see the result of their work with 5 days of competition in Houston. Cheer them on!