Teachers learn how to educate students on STEM

Teachers recently learned STEM applications during the recent NASCAR race in Dover. COURTESY DRIVING SCIENCE
October 4, 2013

DrivingSCIENCE geared up STEM education at double capacity this year at Dover International Speedway when 50 teachers from Delaware and Baltimore converged at Dover Sept. 25-26. Using the world of auto racing as the classroom, DrivingSCIENCE is a professional development institute designed to strengthen content knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Teachers focus on STEM disciplines and best practices that improve student achievement and promote awareness of motorsports careers.

The STEM Cup Challenge, the pinnacle of the DrivingSCIENCE experience, helps teachers connect to the mathematics and science of motorsports through an engineering design process. Teacher teams design, build, test, and race cars powered by mousetraps. The Dover STEM Cup Challenge Trophy is awarded to the team with the racecar that comes in first under the checkered flag.

“Teachers in racetrack communities like Dover are able to access these innovative activities during race weeks so students experience connections between their content standards and the exciting world of motorsports,” said Dot Moss, academic program director for Clemson University’s Professional Development for Integrated Inquiry.

Developed in Clemson University’s College of Engineering and Science with grants from DuPont, Safety-Kleen, and EcoPower and in partnership with Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, DrivingSCIENCE has expanded to eight racetrack communities, providing professional development for 170 teachers in 59 schools, impacting 25,000 students.

“Continued enhancement and improvement of our STEM education system is critical to strengthening our communities and businesses,” said William Provine, director, DuPont Science & Technology. “It is an essential foundation in enabling sustainable solutions to the most significant challenges we face in our world today, and the DrivingSCIENCE program provides teachers with real-life examples of science and engineering that they can use in their STEM classrooms that help bring this connection to life.”

DuPont and the United States Conference of Mayors have partnered to assist mayors in promoting and inspiring student interest in science and engineering through the Cities United for Science Progress partnership. 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 more than 180 cities and over 450 schools teaching more than 40,000 elementary school children with the Science in the School Day program. DuPont is expanding offerings to reach out to science educators, sponsoring teachers to attend the DrivingSCIENCE program to broaden their reach to middle and high school science and math teachers.

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