Event at Motor Speedway stresses STEM education, careers

April 28, 2014  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will kick off a program in May that harnesses the excitement of auto racing to teach science, technology, engineering and math and promote STEM-related careers.

The M-STEM3 500, May 12 and 13 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will launch the M-STEM3 program. Students will have an opportunity during the event to meet industry-related employers during a career fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days.

Adults looking for job opportunities will be able to meet with the employers from 2-6 p.m. those days.

The M-STEM3 500 is an outgrowth of the Motorsports-STEM program, announced in 2013, a partnership among Purdue, engineering company Dallara, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and two Indianapolis-area school systems.

The initial focus of the M-STEM program has been developing a middle school curriculum, which eventually can be expanded to upper elementary and high school classes. The program has evolved into M-STEM3 because it combines motorsports, advanced manufacturing and medical manufacturing.

"The M-STEM3 program is being developed for teachers by teachers to educate students using interactive and fun methods," said James Caruthers, Purdue's Reilly Professor of Chemical Engineering, who leads the M-STEM program in conjunction with the Purdue Office of Engagement.

Courses will include project-based learning and multimedia and can be used in place of current curricula.

Dallara is dedicating part of its Speedway facility for the program, which will feature museum-quality, hands-on science experiments that show the connection between IndyCar components and basic science and math concepts. 

During the M-STEM3 500, students will have an opportunity to talk to drivers about STEM and learn about the Indianapolis 500's contributions to innovation and modernization in the transportation industry.

Attractions will include live demonstrations from First Robotics and VEX Robotics, an autograph session from Honda Racing's IndyCar drivers, displays from Firestone Racing Tires, Soap Box Derby Racing, a demonstration of a high school karting program, and interactions with Radio Disney and media company Edge Factor.

The M-STEM3 500 is open to all students. While the programs are geared more to middle and high school students, some parts are also appropriate for upper elementary grade students.

Schools or parents planning to bring students to the event must register at https://engineering.purdue.edu/MSTEM/. They also must contact Mary Giess at the Motor Speedway Museum, giess@brickyard.com or 317-492-6747. That office will provide tickets and bus passes.

M-STEM3 500 sponsors are Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Dallara Indycar Factory, General Motors, Soap Box Derby, Edge Factor, Honda Racing, Lincoln College of Technology, Firestone Racing, Conexus Indiana, Radio Disney, EmployIndy, Boston Power Inc., FRC, and Ivy Tech Community College 

Writers: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu 

Sources: Danny White, 765-496-7748, white66@purdue.edu

James Caruthers, 765-494-6625, caruther@purdue.edu

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