TEN80 COMES TO THE SPEEDWAY
Students from the Robert Morgan Educational Center took part in the inaugural Ten80 Expo and Green Flag Invitational (photo courtesy: Homestead-Miami Speedway)
Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Homestead-Miami Speedway partnered with the U.S. Army-sponsored Ten80 Student Racing Challenge to expose the exciting science of stock car racing to students and educators.
Thursday, Oct. 31, more than 300 Miami-Dade public school students and educators gathered for the Expo and Green Flag Invitational Student Racing Challenge event at the Homestead R/C track, located on property at Homestead-Miami Speedway adjacent to the Blue Lot—the entry porch just north of the main tower. 14 teams competed in one of two classes – the Expo and Competition classes – won by Jose Marti MAST Academy and Miami Springs Sr. High School.
In many ways, engineering and business are team sports and Ten80 Education’s team set out over 15 years ago to help students learn the skills to thrive in a team-oriented atmosphere while also learning why algebra and physics are pretty helpful.
Sponsored schools will receive nearly $3,700 worth of non-consumable materials and STEM curriculum as well as invitations to all regional events. At a minimum, annual events include face-to-face professional development, a student kickoff in the fall and regional finals in the spring.
Students were challenged to own a motorsports team. Their competitive car is one-tenth the size of a typical stock car is driven by remote controls and powered by electricity. Every participant is certified through race engineering through which they learn problem solving fundamentals, how to interpret data and how to manipulate the mechanical systems in order to maximize performance.
Teams completed a “hot lap” followed by a five minute on-track demonstration. The winner was determined by the team with the best overall lap.
“The event here at Homestead-Miami Speedway was a great way to introduce the students to the technology, marketing and engineering aspects of running a race team,” said Tracey Hoppe, automotive instructor at the Robert Morgan Educational Center. “This gave them a chance to see what it takes to build a race team and it‘s a lot more than pit stops.”
The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge is an after-school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and optional competition league adopted by schools in 29 states. Combining Project Exploration’s student-centered approach to youth science and the Ten80 racing kits and curriculum, students at 14 registered M-DCPS schools will spend the school year gaining practical application of the connection between motorsports, technology careers and a lifelong commitment to hands-on and brains-on learning.
“The U.S. Army supports high-performance education initiatives that are research-based, compelling for youth and reach a widely underserved audience,” said Mark Davis, deputy assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing and director of the Army Marketing and Research Group. “The level of engineering and teamwork on display in Ten80's classrooms and competitions is reflective of the Army's leading-edge technology and the powerful, realistic training of its Army Strong Soldiers.”
Like today’s soldiers and professional motorsports teams, M-DCPS students’ mental, emotional and physical strengths were put to the test as they worked in teams to collaborate, create and compete in project categories that include: robotics, engineering design and fabrication, creative engineering and innovation, and sustainable transportation through renewable energy sources.
Teams will compete in the Regional Finals in spring 2014 with the winning team traveling to Charlotte, N.C. to compete with teams from 29 other states in the Ten80 National Finals in May 2014.