The engineering and race professionals from Mazda presented the nuances of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to a group of high school-age students May 27 at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit. The visit was part of Mazda's "Racing Accelerates Creative Education" (RACE) program and was attended by students from a number of Detroit high schools. The Mazda SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Prototype Racecar was used to demonstrate principles of math and chemistry. Through a series of presentation slides, Mazda professionals exposed students to specific examples of how STEM is vital to race success. For example, the racecar uses renewable synthetic diesel fuel derived from waste oils, including leftovers from French fries. In another example, the car’s driver, Joel Miller, explained that 100% of the car is designed using computers, a fact that surprised some. The principles of an airfoil used on the car were demonstrated as well. John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports, explained that figuring out qualifying weight and dimensions before each race “as a practical math test.” Calculating other critical factors such as translating the penalty caused by excessive pit time on race position were used to show why algebraic story problems are so important.The Mazda presentation also tied in STEM education to the many support professionals needed to make a race a success, from EMTs to lawyers.
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