From textbooks to real life: students learn about STEM through racing

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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GLADSTONE, Mich. (WLUC) - A Gladstone summer schoolteacher is making her class more memorable.

With race cars and propeller cars, elementary students are learning all about STEM in summer school. Lessons from a textbook, seen in real life.

“We’ve got some great stem kits and the kids have been really diving in and learning a lot, exploring different things, learning about simple machines,” said Paulette Pepin, a Gladstone summer schoolteacher.

On Thursday, two young racers came to talk with the students.

Aiden Wandahsega is 15 and he’s racing in the Bark River Off-Road Races this weekend.

“In 2017 I started the sow kids carts for approximately five or six years. Then after that, I took a year off, then I moved to the buggy with my sister,” said Wandahsega.

The other racer is Carson Wagner. He’s going into third grade. Wagner races at the Upper Peninsula International Raceway. The next race is this Monday, during the U.P. State Fair.

“This is the wing and then under here are the gas pedals and stuff. The steering wheel is, I think, right here,” said Wagner.

Summer school students talked with both racers before going back inside to race their own cars.

“They were learning about trajectory, motion. They were learning about the propeller pushing the car, using air, completing circuits,” said Pepin.

While these race cars aren’t battery-operated, it shows students how what they’ve been learning can be used in real life.

Both the Bark River Off-Road and UPIR races are open to the public. Both racers are thankful for their sponsors who make racing possible.

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