Kids As Young As 12 Can Build Next Generation Electric Cars

Apr 19, 2013

Students from Mabelvale Magnet Middle School
Credit Kezia Nanda

About a hundred students and teachers from around the state gathered on Friday in Little Rock for an Electric Vehicle Rally.

KUAR’s Kezia Nanda was at the competition. 

Through the project, kids as young as 12 years old know a lot about engineering and technology. 

Caleb Woodruff said, “I feel good because Mr. Gullett taught us a lot of things in class and he’s teaching us more about go karts.”

“(I’m) a little nervous because we’re in the quiz bowl and it’s difficult to ask a lot of questions,” said Alejandro Salas.

Kevin Nguyen said, “I think we’re the only middle school here but we studied a lot so I’m confident.”

These three students are from Mabelvale Magnet Middle School in the Little Rock and were among those who assembled an electric car for the competition.

Their Engineering Technology Education teacher, Randy Gullett, said it took about a year to prepare for this one day competition.

“These are middle school kids and we start out with just the basics, but the car enhances everything where they actually get hands-on learning. Really that’s how you learn by actually doing it,” said Gullett.

Officials say it’s much more than just driving a go kart.

The students are learning to make real-life decisions.

Schools took part in two acceleration runs and had the option of making a third run.

Credit Kezia Nanda

Pre-engineering teacher, Linda Powell, lets her team from Cabot High School to decide whether to do the optional run.

“They’re discussing whether or not they want to try the third run. Every time you run the car, you pull the voltage from the batteries…If we do the third acceleration, then it will cost us in the range event,” said Powell.

Although this is a competition, organizers hope students had fun and learned.

The competition was sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

Update Monday, April 22, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.:

Cabot High School won first place in the overall winners.