Hundreds of school learners from the Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State provinces graced Carnival City Casino on Thursday to witness science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in real-life. The learners attended the public expo, which was organised by the Sasol Solar Challenge ahead of the start of the biggest endurance challenge on 9 September.
Cutting-edge solar cars built by scholars and private engineers from around the world, were lined up in one of the arenas where school learners took turns to view them, while interacting with the solar car teams. Communities in the Johannesburg area were also part of this experience, as they came in numbers to also learn more about different STEM and energy concepts.
“It was great to see so many learners at the public expo. The most impressive thing is that they were not at the expo to just take photos of the cars but were interested in knowing more about the innovations and technologies in the solar cars. They wanted to know how the solar system works and why sustainable transportation is important,” said Robert Walker, Owner and Director of the Sasol Solar Challenge. “We look forward to meeting more learners along the route during the next eight days.”
The solar car teams were not the only ones showcasing their solar cars at the expo, school learners also came with their STEM and energy solutions which also took a centre stage at the arena. A school from the north of Gauteng brought their solar-powered train which they built to address challenges of cable theft and loadshedding.
“We decided to build a solar-powered train because it is the cheapest mode of transport and used by many people to travel to work or school, however some of the challenges with trains are cable theft and loadshedding. The learners found out in their innovative space to come up with a solution to solve some of these problems, and that was a solar-powered train,” said Tladi Mashiane Acting Principal at Soshanguve Automotive School of Specialisation. “The expo has inspired us to build a solar car in order to participate in the 2024 Sasol Solar Challenge.”
The expo was also attended by provincial officials from the department of education.
Michele Naidoo, Senior Education Specialist: Gauteng Department of Education said: “Our learners are here today to learn more about technologies of the now and the future. Renewable and sustainable energy is becoming a demand and our children are becoming more advanced when it comes to science and innovation, bringing them here to learn about all these cutting-edge technologies motivates them and inspires them to follow in the footsteps of fellow scholars from around the world.”
She added that: “It’s great that the Sasol Solar Challenge is bringing these opportunities to our learners, and we would like to see more of our schools participating in these initiatives.”
Nozipho Mbatha, Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorships at Sasol said: “The Sasol Solar Challenge drives awareness of STEM education in young people, we are therefore thrilled to see so many young people engage in STEM initiatives.”
Spectators are welcome at all stops, and more information on the route and the teams can be found at:
https://www.solarchallenge.org.za/ or on social media:
Sasol Solar Challenge App
For IOS system download here:
For Android system download here: