Solar Detectives are a set of learning and teaching materials aimed at KS3 students, taking a cross curricular solution focused ‘project’ approach to finding out about about engineering. Our materials have a strong sustainability focus and activities based on using our solar car kits that cover aspects of physics, maths and technology curriculum at KS3. The materials can also be adapted for use at KS2 (including use as a transition project) and KS4.
The development of our materials was funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the Engineering a Better World project. Students can build and then modify a model solar car and research the science and maths behind the use of solar energy. They have the opportunity to communicate their findings in a variety of ways and consider how engineers and scientists need to be creative using a range of skills and ideas in their everyday work.
Connecting aspects of science technology and maths together
Electricity and Using Data
Forces Gathering and Analysing Data
To help pupils with their geometry and data handling skills
Both the Solar Detective and Pit Stop materials are built around an approach that is centred on the Solar Car kit at its heart. The relevant and contemporary context around sustainable issues supports an approach to learning that focuses on using our Solar Car kits to stimulate student’s interest.
Our Kits act as fun, motivational and memorable activities that involve real life applications of scientific and mathematical concepts whilst providing opportunities to use inventive, creative, problem solving and solution focused skills crucial to both wider curriculum and employability skills. In addition nurturing inventive thinking; making science, technology and mathematics enjoyable to learn and teach. Kits are available from our online shop.
In doing this activity students have opportunity to develop a range of skills from the skills builder approach including.
Listening: The receiving, retaining and processing of information or ideas
Speaking: The oral transmission of information or ideas
Problem Solving: The ability to find a solution to a situation or challenge
Creativity: The use of imagination and the generation of new ideas
Staying Positive: The ability to use tactics and strategies to overcome setbacks and achieve goals
Aiming High: The ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them
Leadership: Supporting, encouraging and developing others to achieve a shared goal
Teamwork: Working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goalSpeaking, Problem Solving, Teamwork.
You can find out more about Skills builder from