News: US Army brings science, technology, enigineering and mathematics
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
FORT WORTH, Texas - The U.S. Army and Ten80 Education announced today a partnership focusing on immersing students in real-life applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
The U.S. Army was seeking a high-performance educational initiative that is research-based, compelling for youth and reaches a widely underserved audience. The level of engineering and teamwork on display at the race track is reflective of the Army's leading-edge technology and the powerful, realistic training of its Army Strong soldiers making this program the right fit for the U.S. Army and for the NASCAR STEM Initiative.
Just like today's soldiers, students' physical, mental and emotional
strength will be put to the test as they work in teams and compete to optimize performance of a 1:10 scale radio-controlled racecar.
Four regions are sponsored by the Army: Boston (March 22), Dallas (April 12), Atlanta (May 3) and Charlotte, N.C., (May 12). The May 2012 National Finals will be held at the Stewart-Haas Racing Shop in Kannapolis, N.C. Stewart-Haas Racing's Ryan Newman, driver of the Army's No. 39 NASCAR Sprint.
Cup Series car and holder of an engineering degree, will join Tony
Schumacher, driver of the Army's NHRA Top Fuel dragster, and Antron Brown, his teammate and Top Fuel rival with Don Schumacher Racing, to participate in the regional events.
Their sponsorship makes it possible for new teams to join the STEM league and to benefit from regional competitions and support events with professional mentors. Teachers benefit from professional development focused on project-based education and learn how to integrate STEM ideals into science and math classrooms. The U.S. Army also is sponsoring one winning team from each region to travel to the 2012 Ten80 National Finals in Charlotte.
"NASCAR racing is one of the few sports that actively use science,
technology, engineering and math in real time," said Jeff Thompson,
mechanical engineer and vice president of technology for Ten80 Education.
"For every one driver, hundreds of technicians and engineers are behind the scenes making this week's win a possibility. Our student teams operate the same way."
The Student Racing Challenge is a project-based curriculum for students in grades six through 12 built on the themes of motorsports and safe, sustainable transportation. Students across 27 states that work with Ten80's coalition of engineers and educators collaborate and compete through challenges that directly parallel the arduous preparation of real NASCAR teams.
With more than 14 million possible setup combinations for the car, Ten80 Student Racing Challenge offers a wide range of subjects for investigation, according to Terri Stripling, president of Ten80 Education. From basic scientific method to upper-level calculus, the program works to bring real-world math modeling to students of all backgrounds and talents, including a focus on underserved student populations.
Like NASCAR teams, Student Racing Challenge teams also seek sponsorship and media presence to earn points as well as notoriety. Points leaders and regional winners compete in the Ten80's National Finals, a fast-paced weekend of racing and presentations similar to those at a science and technology fair.
"We've worked hard over the last decade to create a focused and engaging curriculum and coalition to support students at all ability levels," said Beverly Simmons, former middle school science teacher, Georgia Presidential awardee and co-chair of the Ten80 Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization and sanctioning body for the student league. "We couldn't be more proud of our partnership with NASCAR, our higher education affiliates and now the U.S. Army. This will take this important mission to a whole new level."
The core of Ten80 Education was founded in the 1990s when a team of teachers spearheaded by Simmons reached out to their community looking for ways to develop authentic classroom applications for math and science. Though they didn't know it at the time, the engineers, technicians and professors who answered the questions were forming the first Ten80 Engineer-Educator teams.
Since then, Ten80 Education has continued to pair STEM professionals with educators to provide professional development for K-12 teachers and to develop innovative and effective supplemental K-12 programs.