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Dover, DE – Driving SCIENCE™ makes its first stop at Dover International Speedway when more than 30 teachers from Delaware and Philadelphia come to Dover, Del., Sept. 26-28, for The STEM Cup Challenge sponsored by DuPont Motorsports, Daytona International Speedway, and Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR). Philadelphia teachers are attending through a sponsorship of the United States Conference of Mayors and DuPont.
With a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Driving SCIENCE™ is a professional development institute designed to strengthen content knowledge in STEM disciplines, model best practices that improve student achievement, and promote awareness of motorsports careers. The sponsors of Driving SCIENCE™ are nationally recognized leaders in STEM education. They realize that improving the teaching of math and science results in better prepared employees and increases the pool of available employees from a broader, more diverse background.
“We’re pleased to host the STEM Cup Challenge as part of our Sept. 28-30, 2012 race weekend at Dover International Speedway,” said Michael Tatoian, COO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “The motorsports world is one that functions on the principles of math and science. It’s very gratifying to support the professional development of STEM teachers, as they will help shape the young individuals that will keep our industry thriving for years to come.”
“We’re providing teachers with ideas and tools to inspire their students — practical everyday ideas that will spark interest and meaningful discussions,” said Dot Moss, director of Clemson University’s “Math Out of the Box” program. “Driving SCIENCE™ allows teachers and students alike to see the many career opportunities available to them in the STEM sciences, motor racing and business.”
Driving SCIENCE™, first introduced two years ago at the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, Fla., is a curriculum, developed in Clemson University’s College of Engineering and Science through a grant from the DuPont Office of Education. The institute has since opened at Darlington, S.C., Motor Speedway and now Dover. The goal is to expand Driving SCIENCE™ to teachers near all NASCAR tracks.
The STEM Cup Challenge is a hands-on experience. Inquiry-based teaching techniques are used and learned during this professional development course. The analysis of speed, understanding force, energy and motion, experimenting with “mouse trap” cars and figuring out how safety applies to major super speedways are all a part of the curriculum. During the Challenge, participants experience an engineering design cycle. They build a car that is powered by a mousetrap and modify it for greater speed. Cars must meet certain criteria that may be changed immediately before the race. Cars have to go through a test station and practice round before racing for the STEM Cup Challenge Trophy.
The Challenge concludes with a “day at the races,” applying STEM knowledge and motorsport career awareness during a garage tour where participants make connections to STEM and its careers and the cars being prepared for the Sept. 28 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR’s top developmental series.
“DuPont is a leader in supporting STEM education. We all win when we help develop a greater understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including local communities, businesses like DuPont, the United States and the world,” said DuPont Motorsports Manager Larry Deas.
DuPont and The United States Conference of Mayors have partnered to assist mayors in promoting and inspiring student interest in science and engineering with a partnership called Cities United for Science Progress (CUSP). For the past 11 years, DuPont has worked with Mayors to bring science and engineering to local elementary schools across the nation. To date, DuPont has visited over 175 cities and over 450 schools teaching close to 40,000 elementary school children with their Science in the School Day program. DuPont is expanding their offerings to reach out to science educators, sponsoring teachers to attend the Driving SCIENCE™ program to broaden their reach to middle and high school science and math teachers so they will have an even greater impact on science education.
The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is an advanced-technology research campus where academia, industry and government organizations engage in synergistic collaboration. With more than $200 million in commitments, CU-ICAR represents the ultimate public/private partnership, directly fueling a knowledge base critical to the automotive industry. Ranked within the Top 10 Automotive Colleges and Universities in the U.S., CU-ICAR sets the standard for exemplary automotive students.