CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Race cars will roll into Downtown Chicago for NASCAR’s first-ever street race this summer.
Before the drivers arrive in Chicago, however, public school students are learning about the engineering and technology behind the cars and equipment.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and NASCAR partnered to get students thinking about the science behind the sport. The racing company is providing funding, supplies and access to professional NASCAR engineers.
The street race will take place around Grant Park on July 1-2. In the meantime, 22,000 students across 43 CPS schools are engaged in the “Helmet Challenge.”
They are using construction paper, plastic and their imaginations to build prototype auto racing helmets.
“So, with paper, pencils and staplers, they can explore the wider range of innovation than they could if they were limited to the materials being too technical,” said Kate Klein, manager of STEM support and implementation at CPS.
“I’m pretty excited, and I kind of want to go to, I want to see the street race and everything,” added CPS 5th grader Kevin Nagera. “I think it would be pretty cool.”
About 500 student finalists will participate in the district-wide event called “Steam Fest,” which is scheduled to take place at the Field Museum on May 2.
Students will work with NASCAR drivers, engineers and other industry STEM professionals to hone their problem-solving skills in a competition to see who can design the best prototype.