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Program cultivates 'cool' via INDYCAR platform25/06/2012
NEWTON, Iowa - How many revolutions would a tire 6 foot in circumference make in one mile?
The question, posed by Firestone Racing's Page Mader, initially caught the group off-guard. After all, this was a post-school year field trip for more than 80 Boy Scouts and Webelos from the Mid-Iowa Council to Iowa Speedway. But with modest prompting from chaperones, the answer - and more importantly the process to ascertain the answer - was shouted over the din of revving IZOD IndyCar Series engines.
The query was used as an example of how science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) are woven into the IZOD IndyCar Series and the students' everyday life during a education day at the speedway. STEM is part of a Boy Scouts of America initiative to use the IZOD IndyCar Series as a platform to expose members to and cultivate their interest in potential career paths that require critical thinking and innovation.
"It's what the future is for these students," said Scout Master Tim Linahon of Newton his troop listened to INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips explain why carbon fiber instead of sheet metal sheaths the new Dallara chassis. "Some kids have a natural instinct to be curious, but the more you expose them to all the technology in the (IZOD IndyCar Series) the more interest there will be. I think this is wicked cool."
The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which started the STEM program in January 2011, is a promotional partner with INDYCAR. Such track visits, driver meet-and-greets and Pinewood Derby events associated with select IZOD IndyCar Series race weekends complement members cheering on the Boys Scouts of America car driven by James Jakes for Dale Coyne Racing on the racetrack.
High-tech race cars and computer-savvy pre-teens is a natural fit, said Linahon, who noted that there are 31 STEM-related merit badges to procure.
"I think it's cool," said scout Jim Duggen, "all the technology things there are on the cars like the steering wheels."
Additionally, what's developed at the racetrack, such as the new 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that runs on E85 supplied by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus for the IZOD IndyCar Series cars, soon will be in the scouts' driveways.
"It's one of the reasons we got into INDYCAR - the relevance of the turbocharger, direct injection, smaller displacement engines with similar power outputs, focusing on fuel economy" said Chris Berube, Chevrolet's INDYCAR program manager. "They're all things in a race car that are relevant to their personal car.
"The bigger picture is getting high-technology manufacturing back in the United States. The more people that are interested in engineering the more likely we'll manufacture items in this country and bring our economy back."
In many forums - including political, governmental and academic - the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself.
"Science, technology, engineering and math are life skills," Phillips said. "And they are becoming more important not only to every generation but every year."
Oh, the process to arrive at the answer to Mader's question: Remember the number for how many feet are in a mile (5,280) and divide by six. That's 880 revolutions.Orignal Article