Hudson County Schools of Technology, Explore 2000 eighth grade students held an exciting STEM activity this trimester using race car technology sponsored by STEMeducationllc. Before the holidays, the students were learning the Pythagorean theorem and were told they would take part in a STEM activity that would require teams of four. After the teams were chosen, they developed team names and designed team logos. The rules of the activity were given so students could discuss and develop team strategies. The objective was to attain the greatest team distance by driving their cars through an obstacle course on the gym floor. The floor would be designed as the Cartesian coordinate plane using the point of origin and the positive x and y axes.
The first activity was for the students to create the track and obstacle course on the gym floor according to a given design using measuring wheels, plastic strips and cones. The students then worked in teams of four, driving one at a time, using strategies to avoid or eliminate obstacles to gain the greatest distance under 30 seconds. Once an obstacle was hit, that became the point of measurement. The obstacle was then removed from the field to clear a path for the next driver. All members were engaged in the activity. They were driving, measuring, using stopwatches or recording data. Once all of the data was collected, the calculations were made using the Pythagorean theorem. The students had fun and cheered each other on. In this competition, there were all winners!