Display and Presentations at the RACV Energy Breakthrough

The need to perform hits the teams at RACV Energy Breakthrough even before they get their vehicles on the track, Leo Billington reports.

For one long and loud weekend every November, Maryborough’s pulse beats. When school teams from all over the state come to this central Victorian town for RACV Energy Breakthrough, kids mix and connect. It’s as much about fun as relevant learning. Students and adults (teachers, principals, parents, friends) become a team, unified towards pursuit of a long-established agreed goal, to give it a go.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]I have been a judge at Energy Breakthrough since 2009 and have seen students arrive for judging looking nervous, excited, bewildered, intrigued, keen, naive and twitchy, but with a certain look on their eyes: “Let’s get on with it.”[/quote]

Teams must complete a group presentation to a panel of three before the “race.” We ask about sponsorships, who coached them, who helped and why.

Students assemble with their vehicles. I look for explanations about dimensions, safety features including brakes, lights and roll bars, plus information on diet, greenhouse and carbon emissions.

In the advanced hybrid category, we seek specifications of the solar or electric vehicles. We’re often mesmerised by intricate explanations of drive systems, gearing ratios and carbon fibre design.

Some teams wish to be creative. They may start their presentation with a poem, or a song, even a script, occasionally with costumes and make-up.

I look for evidence of initiative, creativity in team selection and how to present the essential message of what the Energy Breakthrough is about. Team cohesion, gender balance, cultural diversity and differing abilities must shine through.

I find students gain confidence and respect from their peers. At any presentation, a leader generally steps forward, showing consideration to others and articulating the fun and the learning. Better students acknowledge those who helped along the way – teachers, principals, parents, friends – all of whom have become unified towards achievement and an unadulterated pursuit of a long-established agreed goal: to give it a go.

This article first appeared in RoyalAuto in November 2013.


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Six tips for a great presentation:

Laurie Preston,  Display & Presentation Coordinator, shares his top tips for schools wanting to perform an excellent presentation:

  1. Read the School’s Handbook for the judging criteria.
  2. Make sure that all team members participate and it is best to know the information well. Small cue cards are OK, but don’t just read from notes.
  3. Look as if you are enjoying the experience of the Energy Breakthrough (It is a fun event, after all!).
  4. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse.
  5. Make sure that your visual display is clear, relevant and well presented.
  6. Relate to the visual display during your presentation
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“I am looking forward to seeing the enthusiasm of the students and the variety in the presentations. It is pleasing to see how creative the presentations can be and how they are an integration of many parts of the schools’ curriculum.” ~ Laurie Preston, Display & Presentation Coordinator[/quote]