Inaugural ‘STEAM FEST’ to Feature K-12 Students in NASCAR-themed Design Competition at Field Museum on May 2
CHICAGO, Ill. (Feb. 21, 2023) – As excitement builds for 2023 Chicago Street Race Weekend, NASCAR and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced a collaborative initiative that will engage and inspire more than 22,000 students with racing-themed STEM and STEAM learning experiences and curriculum. The partnership was announced by CPS and Chicago Street Race officials today at the Field Museum in downtown Chicago with the help of 2023 DAYTONA 500 champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., fresh off the driver’s victory at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
Beginning in March, CPS students from all 43 STEM and STEAM schools will compete in an in-classroom design challenge culminating with the first-ever “STEAM Fest” in downtown Chicago on May 2. Nearly 500 student finalists will interact with NASCAR drivers, engineers and other industry STEM professionals at the Field Museum in the event’s championship round for a chance to attend the Chicago Street Race Weekend.
In addition, CPS and NASCAR will work together to develop new STEM curriculum for eighth-grade students exploring fundamental science and engineering concepts within the sport. The NASCAR-themed curriculum, designed to address Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations, will be finalized and introduced in middle schools during the 2023-2024 school year.
“Chicago was the birthplace of American auto racing in 1895 and we couldn’t be more excited to give our students an opportunity to be a part of that history through our District’s partnership with NASCAR,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. ”Hands-on projects like STEAM Fest will empower students to make real-world connections with their studies that take them from the start-finish line all the way to the checkered flag and exciting career opportunities in STEM.”
To download images from today’s press conference with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., click here. Click to download the STEAM Fest logos or the Chicago Street Race logo.
The collaboration reflects NASCAR’s overarching commitment to the Chicago community and specifically programs that have a positive and lasting impact on local youth and teens.
“When you consider the science and technology that exists across NASCAR, we have a unique opportunity to connect CPS students with STEM education in ways that are fun, engaging and hopefully inspiring,” said Julie Giese, Chicago Street Race President. “Importantly, NASCAR and the Chicago Street Race are building foundational programs with CPS that will benefit students and teachers now and for many years into the future.”
The design competition will enable NASCAR to connect with more than 22,000 students enrolled at CPS STEM and STEAM Schools, with every student in grades K-12 challenged to design their own race helmets. The students, organized in groups, will receive kits with simple materials and design race helmets that address key elements including safety, communication, ventilation, and other technological innovations. The complexity of the challenge will vary depending on grade.
Top-performing groups from each of the 43 schools will earn invitations to STEAM Fest at the Field Museum. At the event, schools will be assigned a new NASCAR challenge and compete against each other with the support of NASCAR Cup Series drivers and STEM professionals employed across the sport. The champion groups for each grade will receive complimentary tickets to the Chicago Street Race Weekend.
The curriculum integration, which will impact eighth-grade students at all CPS middle schools, will focus on the research and design process. Together with NASCAR engineers, CPS STEM faculty will identify specific engineering needs that exist in NASCAR and students will be tasked with building design proposals that address the real-word challenge with potential solutions.
A group of eighth-grade students will visit the site of the Chicago Street Race to learn first-hand how the curriculum material comes to life at a NASCAR event and the sport’s first street race in its 75-year history. The students will capture data and content leading up to the event, which will be included in the curriculum planned for launch.
Chicago Street Race
As part of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season, the first-ever Chicago Street Race will feature the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series competing on a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course that will take competitors past and through many of Chicago’s most renowned downtown landmarks, along with full-length concerts by The Chainsmokers and Miranda Lambert with the support of The Black Crowes and Charley Crockett over Fourth of July Weekend on July 1-2.
General admission and reserved tickets are on sale for the Chicago Street Race. Two-day general admission ticket are on sale starting at $269. Reserved tickets that offer an array of opportunities including reserved seating and a wide variety of premium experiences start at $465. To purchase tickets, fans can log onto NASCARChicago.com or call 1-888-629-7223.
The Cup Series street race will be nationally broadcast on NBC on Sunday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. CT and Xfinity Series street race will be broadcast nationally on USA Network at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. CT.
To stay up to date with the Chicago Street Race, fans can subscribe to receive exclusive Chicago Street Race emails, follow @NASCARChicago on Twitter and Facebook and download the NASCAR Tracks App for the latest real-time updates on all aspects of the event.
About Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools serves more than 322,000 students in 635 schools. It is the nation’s fourth-largest school district. To learn more, visit www.cps.edu.
About Chicago Street Race
The Chicago Street Race is the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series street race. Located in downtown Chicago, the event will take competitors past and through many of the city’s most renowned downtown landmarks on Michigan Avenue, South Columbus Drive, South Lake Shore Drive and the start-finish line near Buckingham Fountain. The Cup Series will be joined by the NASCAR Xfinity Series as part of a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment festival headlined by Miranda Lambert, The Chainsmokers, Charley Crockett, and The Black Crowes over the Fourth of July Weekend on July 1-2, 2023. For more information, visit NASCARChicago.com.
About Field Museum
The Field Museum is a forward-thinking scientific leader on a mission to explore, protect, and celebrate nature and culture. From exhibitions that inspire journeys of discovery in visitors young and old, to the groundbreaking research and conservation efforts driven by our 40 million artifacts and specimens, we’re on a mission to connect us all to the natural world and the human story. Our public relations team can be reached via [email protected].
Celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2023, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR sanctions races in three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series™), four international series (NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race, NASCAR Mexico Series, NASCAR Pinty’s Series (Canada), NASCAR Whelen Euro Series), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and a local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races annually in 12 countries and more than 30 U.S. states. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
Brent S. Gambill
Chicago Public Schools, Media Office