More than 1,900 North Bay students from 33 schools and clubs will take part in the 4th annual STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman’s Home Improvement. This curriculum-based event, which is a partnership with Sonoma Raceway, Kid Scoop News and Friedman’s Home Improvement, focuses on educating students about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Groups of student engineers from 33 North Bay elementary schools and youth groups, a record level of participation for the program, will be tasked with developing a gravity-powered race car utilizing recycled materials. Kid Scoop News has worked closely with teachers to develop a STEM-based curriculum that challenges students to think critically and work collaboratively to build the quickest car. Activities in the STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman’s Home Improvement are designed to introduce and reinforce both national common core standards and 21st century job skills.
Students will put their purpose-built race cars to the test in a series of qualifying rounds at each school, which will narrow down to a group of students who will compete in the final round on Saturday, June 24, of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend. The winning student engineers of the STEM Race Car Challenge will serve as VIPs during the Carneros 200 NASCAR West Series race on Saturday, receive a trophy and tickets to Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 race, courtesy of Friedman’s Home Improvement.
Sonoma Raceway has partnered with Sonoma-based Kid Scoop News, a children’s literacy non-profit that publishes and distributes a free monthly reader to 500 classrooms and 18,000 kids in the North and East Bay, on the race car challenge. Kid Scoop News has been key to the program, as the organization is a leader in providing high-interest content that motivates kids to read and explore topics, including STEM. Through their effort, the number of participating schools has nearly tripled from 12 schools in 2016 to 33 schools in 2017.
North Bay schools and clubs participating in this year’s STEM Race Car Challenge include:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County: Camp East Santa Rosa; Camp North Santa Rosa; Camp Roseland; Camp Windsor; Camp Cloverdale; Camp Guerneville; Camp Healdsburg and Camp Rohnert Park
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley: Sassarini Elementary School; El Verano Elementary School; Altimira Middle School; Flowery Elementary School and Dunbar Elementary School.
- Coleman Elementary School (San Rafael)
- Dunbar Elementary School (Sonoma)
- El Verano Elementary School (Sonoma)
- Flowery Elementary School (Sonoma)
- Hidden Valley School (Santa Rosa)
- Jefferson Elementary School (Cloverdale)
- La Tercera Elementary School (Petaluma)
- Loma Verde Elementary (Petaluma)
- Lynwood Elementary (Novato)
- Marguerite Hahn School (Rohnert Park)
- Meadow Elementary (Petaluma)
- Napa Junction Elementary School (American Canyon)
- Prestwood Elementary School (Sonoma)
- Sassarini Elementary School (Sonoma)
- Sheppard Elementary School (Santa Rosa)
- University Elementary (Rohnert Park)
- Waldo Rohnert Elementary (Rohnert Park)
- Washington School (Cloverdale)
- West Side Elementary School (Healdsburg)
“The unique thing about STEM activities is that the students are able to connect the challenge of building a race car to the real world at Sonoma Raceway,” said Vicki Whiting, content developer and publisher of Kid Scoop News. “While the students are having fun with race cars, it is reinforcing their core STEM curriculum.”
NASCAR fans and guests are invited to watch the finals of the STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman’s Home Improvement at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, in Sonoma Raceway’s Sunoco Victory Lane located just south of the main grandstand. For tickets or more information on NASCAR’s annual visit to Sonoma, visit www.SonomaRaceway.com/NASCAR or call 800-870-RACE.