A week prior to school campuses closing in March and moving to online instruction, the Chino Hills solar boat team was informed the annual SoalCup competition had been cancelled due to COVID-19. Two weeks later, the team was contacted by SolarCup’s lead coordinator and told the program would move online to a virtual competition. Traditionally, the three-day Solar Boat competition, sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, takes place at Lake Skiner in the Temecula Valley where approximately 40 teams of students throughout So Cal build and race solar-powered boats. This year, however, the online competition would require students to complete and submit 12 challenges electronically.
Scheduling Discord group chats and sharing Google documents, the team of 14 seniors and four underclassmen completed two to three challenges each week over a five week period. The most memorable challenge was Challenge #8: It's A'Boat Time We Build A Marina. Through this challenge, the team created a diagram of a marina design, assessed the possibility of setting up a solar system to support the EB charging stations and analyzed the benefit of electric vs. combustion engine boats. Going a step beyond and showcasing their creativity, team members used the popular sandbox video game, Minecraft, to create a 3-D representation of their marina. Team leaders Zoe Andal ('20), Josh Rodriguez ('20) and Samantha Olivar ('22) explained the game allowed each participating team member the opportunity to create a personal avatar and feel as though they were with each other in person working to complete the project.