Richard Childress Racing (RCR) recently teamed up with the Dow Chemical Company to launch an online education program for kids highlighting the importance of STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) in racing. The Speed of STEM program is a collaboration between Dow’s STEM Ambassadors and RCR to develop content that “uniquely combines racing and the chemical industry through hands-on learning.” Aimed at middle school kids (students aged 11-14), the modules demonstrate the real-world connections to classroom content and introduce a range of STEM career opportunities to kids. (Take THAT Bart Simpson!) The Speed of STEM program is available to educators worldwide.
In motor racing, science, engineering, technology, and math are everywhere and the engineers, technicians, and crews of RCR spent years learning about and applying STEM concepts in racing and are considered experts in their fields. That’s why Dr. Eric Warren, RCR’s Director of Competition, reached out to educators at North Carolina State University and Mount Airy High School to develop the Speed of STEM curriculum. This partnership supports and furthers Dow’s commitment to Building the Workforce of Tomorrow, “to inspire the next generation (of students) to embrace STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers.”
The first module is an explanation of Newton’s Second Law, which states that a force is directly proportional to mass and acceleration. It features videos on crash tests, impact tests, and how lightweighting affects acceleration and handling of stock cars on the race track.
The program was announced August 3 and showcased in the August 6 NASCAR race at Watkins Glen International in New York on the No. 3 Dow STEM Chevrolet driven by Austin Dillon.
“I depend on my crew chief and engineers for their knowledge every day, so it’s cool to think that their passion for science and math was sparked when they were kids,” Dillon said in a statement. “I hope that all of the elements that Dow and RCR have put together can help create an interest in science, technology, engineering and math for future generations. From the design of the car to the lesson plans and videos, I think Dow has created something really cool for kids.”
As a Geek and sports nut, these types of partnerships make me very happy. They also make me a little jealous of kids today, who get to study this kind of cool stuff. I always enjoyed school as a kid but was never really good at the science stuff (math was cool and I loved that, but science? Not so much.) Maybe if there were interesting education programs like this one around, I might’ve gotten a better grade in chemistry class….