Earlier this year our Secondary students were presented with an extraordinary opportunity by Horizon Education to create a radio-controlled car fueled by hydrogen cells. With a hard-working team and determination, they managed to take their Hydro car from our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) room all the way to the US to compete in the World Finals held this September at the Las Vegas EXPO. We have interviewed each of the individuals to learn about what they have personally taken away from their experience. To introduce our team, let's dive into each of their roles.
Starting off with our Team Leader Jacek, the main organiser, but also a car engineer. Then we have our Lead Driver Dominik, who was given the responsibly of recruiting other drivers, our second driver was Ivan who swapped with Dominik during races. The car's main engineering was taken care of by our Head Engineer Maksymilian assisted by Bara, who was there from start to finish, keeping it in good shape even during races.
What surprised you the most about the trip?
Bara: "Definitely how well I got to know my teammates during the process. Before building our team, I didn't know them that well. During the trip, I was surprised by how friendly everyone was, not just my teammates but all the other participants. We didn’t come across any big conflicts between each other, which made us all the stronger as a team.
This project was very special and different from any other project I have worked on so far. I have learnt to see the truth in other people's thoughts and opinions and also recognising new opportunities. For example, the ability of having hydrogen as a fuel is crazy to me and thus made me more open-minded. Overall, I really enjoyed the adrenaline of the race, and since I'm a Formula One fan the atmosphere there felt very similar and exciting during the race.”
What obstacles did you come across and how did you overcome them?
Maksymillian: “We faced a few minor problems with our car, for example, one r wheel fell off and we had a leak in the hydrogen system during the race. However, we did come prepared, and we brought a lot of spare parts with us in case something like this happened so we could easily fix it on the spot and keep going. Before the race, however, we did come across an issue with transporting parts across the US border, such as the car, tools and the batteries. Thankfully, customs officers (?] didn't take anything, and we managed to get everything to the race.”
What is one of the main take aways from this experience?
Dominik: “Building the car was a phenomenal experience but working on it as a team rather than an individual was a fantastic way to get to know my teammates. Furthermore, during our collaboration I had a chance to learn and gain different strengths that my teammates brought to the table. This allowed us to exchange previous knowledge with each other and also acquire new knowledge (understanding and expertise?).”
What have you personally enjoyed the most about your trip to Las Vegas?
Jacek: “It was the first time being in the US for most of us, so it was a cultural shock. Las Vegas was very overwhelming, and it made me see the trip in as the sense of a payoff for all the hard work we have done in the past months the capstone being the completion of this entire experience.”
Their journey did not end in Las Vegas, the team brought their legacy back to PBIS educating their younger peers about the secrets of Hydrogen racing cars. Upon their arrival back in Prague the team helped the next generation of Hydro car racing set off on the right foot. With Dominik leading the recruitment of drivers for the younger team, he plans to help them set up trainings and engage with the leadership team as much as possible to increase PBIS Hydro's progress. Thanks to Hydro PBIS, our Robotics club has a new member, Ivan, who has joined the club with excitement for new projects and opportunities. Lastly, Maksymillian has taken all his new extended knowledge on the topic to work on a hydrogen based standard essay where he can reflect on his thrilling experience.
All in all, we can see the massive growth this team has undertaken during this exciting opportunity, and we are looking forward to seeing more from Hydro PBIS.
Tremendous thanks go to the race sponsors who made the journey to Las Vegas possible.