Jackson students participate in Ohio Electric Vehicle Grand Prix

Several Jackson Memorial Middle School eighth-grade students recently learned adjustments and fine-tuning is a large part in having a successful electric car.

Jackson students prepare for the race. (Photo by: Eric Poston)

This was the first year Jackson participated in the Ohio Electric Vehicle Grand Prix held at McKinley High School. The goal of the one-hour race is not to be the leader, but to complete the most number of laps around the track.

In addition to Jackson, Strongsville, Toledo Technology Academy and Canton City Schools participated in the race. Several of the schools had multiple cars participating.

Toledo Technology Academy came in first with 74 laps, Canton City Schools car built by Hartford Middle School came in second with 70 laps and cars from Canton and Toledo tied for third.

While Jackson’s car didn’t finish the race, it was a learning experience and something to build on for the school.

Jackson Memorial Middle School teacher Michelle Kohli said about 12-15 students worked on the car kit, which was given to them through the Jackson Schools Foundation. She said the students began working on the car for an hour per day twice per week after school since mid-December.

Kohli said putting the car together had many ups and downs, but it was overall a learning experience for the students involved. She said putting the car kit together also gave students a chance to learn more about tools and how to use them.

“It turned out well,” Kohli said.

The one downside for the eighth-grade students who built the car was the fact they weren’t allowed to drive it as a driver’s license is required. So two Jackson High School seniors stepped in as drivers of the electric purple car, which reaches speeds of 30 to 35 mph.

For Kohli, the most rewarding part of the project was seeing the kid’s hard work pay off.

“When they turned the key for the first time and the car started, they were jumping up and down,” Kohli said.

She said she had some amazing help from custodians at the middle school along with an engineer from the Timken Co.

Moving forward Kohli hopes to continue to create cars to race as she is going to decide soon if the car built this year will go with the eighth graders to the high school so they can make improvements and enter the race next year. She hopes to work with a new group of eighth graders to construct another car for next year.

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This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com