North Bay students from 40 classrooms and clubs will take part in the 5th annual STEM Race Car Challenge, presented by Friedman’s Home Improvement.
This curriculum-based program, 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) and culminates at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event in June.
Groups of student engineers have been tasked with developing a gravity-powered race car utilizing recycled materials. Kid Scoop News works 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 finalists who will compete in the final round on Saturday, June 23, 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 program has reached more than 4,000 students since its inception in 2014.
North Bay schools and clubs participating in this year’s STEM Race Car Challenge include:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County: Camp Cloverdale; Camp Guerneville; Camp Healdsburg; Camp Lucchesi Park; Camp Rohnert Park; Camp Sheppard Elementary; Camp Matanzas Elementary; Camp Brooks Road; and Camp Taylor Mountain Elementary.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley (9 elementary and middle school campuses)
- Coleman Elementary School (San Rafael)
- Dunbar Elementary School (Sonoma)
- Hidden Valley School (Santa Rosa)
- La Tercera Elementary School (Petaluma)
- Loma Verde Elementary (Petaluma)
- Parkmont Elementary School (Fremont)
- The Presentation School (Sonoma)
- University Elementary (Rohnert Park)
- Waldo Rohnert Elementary (Rohnert Park)
- West Side Elementary School (Healdsburg)
- Windsor Creek Elementary
“The demand for STEM jobs has been three times greater than the demand for non-STEM jobs,” said Vicki Whiting, content developer and publisher of Kid Scoop News. “To create the workforce our country needs, STEM careers must be nurtured and encourage in today’s youth. Teachers have told us that working on STEM subjects by offering a hands-on, car-racing theme really engages their students!”
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 23, 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.