News / USA

Children Learn about Science from Race Cars

Children Learn About Science from Race Carsi
X
September 27, 2013 12:47 AM
Students get a close-up look at Indy Cars before a recent grand prix race in downtown Baltimore
Deborah Block
A race track became a classroom for some Maryland students as they learned about science and engineering from open top Indy race cars.  The IndyCar organization collaborated with educators to make science fun and encourage students to consider a career in the field. 

Indy Cars go well over 320 kilometers per hour.  The students got a close-up look at the cars before a recent grand prix race in downtown Baltimore.

Then they went to tents by the race course to learn how tires grip the road surface. The students used a sensor to learn about friction by comparing smooth and rough materials.

Ten-year-old Jhanaijia Daughtrey thought learning about the tires was interesting, especially because she is considering becoming an engineer.

“The Indy Car surface is smoother so that they can easily go around the streets, and the regular tire has grooves in it, so I guess it can basically do anywhere," said Daughtrey.

Science teacher Kathryn Spivey says these activities show the students how what they’re learning in school applies in the real world.

“It gave them a chance to do science hands-on with equipment we can’t afford to put in the classroom, and they were able to see what we’re talking about when we talk about being safe and friction and motion," said Spivey.

These children can learn a lot about science and engineering from Indy Cars, says driver Ed Carpenter.

“Everything that we do here with these race cars, whether what keeps us safe in an accident or what’s helping us go fast on the  track, it’s an engineering-driven sport, which the heart of it is math and science," said Carpenter.

IndyCar sponsors the Future of Fast program with Project Lead the Way.  The group provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics course material to U.S. schools.  The idea behind the demonstrations is to expose kids to new ideas, says Vince Bertram, head of the organization.  

“It’s one thing to just enjoy the speed and the track experience, but when you really start to understand the technical issues and how these cars are designed and put together, that’s exciting and it's engaging for our students," said Bertram.

The children also got to learn about race track safety barriers.  Using paper, Styrofoam, straws and glue, the students create their own small barriers.  An instrument measures the wall force as the barrier is hit by a small car.

Shane Gorman explains the result.   

“If you have it thicker, rather than thinner, it makes a much better barrier," said Gorman.

Brennan Radke was surprised to learn that a real safety wall is not made out of concrete.

“I think that if it was just a concrete wall, then the car would get really demolished, but because it was made of Styrofoam and steel, I don’t think it would damage the car as much," said Radke.

The Future of Fast program began last year with events in several cities.  The hope is that more children will get interested in science and engineering.  And the IndyCar racing circuit hopes to gain some young fans.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs