How do I Experiment with Solar?

I am a middle school student at the Colegio Atid in Mexico City. I would like to ask your expert opinion on the subject (solar energy), which is the topic I am investigating for our school’s upcoming Science Fair – what kind of experiments with a small car or boat or other ideas do you have? Jamie E. Mexico City, Mexico

Jamie, The do-it-yourselfer can buy small solar cells and matching electric motors by catalogue from Edmunds Scientific, which seems to have the most extensive supply and variation. Both Edmunds and many toy and technology stores sell educational solar kits. My three favorites this year are: – “Real Science” from the Discovery Channel Store, which has 50 experiments including a solar cell and electric motor – “The Solar Car Book” by Klutz, which is sold in many toy stores and has a great book for people who are 9-years-old and up with a solar cell and matched motor – the “Solar Energy Lab” by Educational Design, which has a solar concentrator, test tube and thermostat for people who are 8-years-old and up. Scott