Student learn science from SKYCTC car

May 4, 2017

On Track Car built by SKYCTC students

Photo courtesy of BG Daily News

By CHARLES A. MASON Charles Mason 
The two 500-horsepower On Track cars rebuilt by local students during the 2015-16 school year will be auctioned off May 20 to provide future money for the motor sports education program sponsored by the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Mecum Auctions in Indianapolis event is at noon and those wanting to buy the cars can register to bid at

First, though, the cars have some work to do with possible future students who might later work in the motor sports industry in the Bowling Green region. For one, a car can assist with a cool physics lesson for middle schoolers.

On Tuesday, the green 1981 Z28 Camaro converted to a 1970 split bumper by the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College students was at Drakes Creek Middle School to help out with the lesson.

About 300 middle school students have been learning about motion in physics using a stripped-down version of an accelerometer.

This accelerometer is a lightweight plastic in the school’s parking lot, Rico Tyler, a master teacher with the Western Kentucky University SkyTeach program, said Tuesday.

“This helps them make the connection between the theoretical science and what happens in the real world,” Tyler said. “This lesson is learning about what the effect of force has on objects.”

The students watched a video of the bobber through a special camera in their classroom and taking a map of the school’s parking lot, they traced where they thought the car took the accelerometer in the lot.

Accelerometers measure motion. They help a vehicle deploy an airbag when the vehicle crashes or power down the screen on a cell phone when it is held up to an ear to listen, Tyler said.

Tyler and Catherine Poteet, also a master teacher at WKU Sky Teach, worked on the physics curriculum lesson with five local middle school teachers. SkyTeach works with math and science teachers, two of the four pieces in the STEM curriculum science, technology, engineering and math.

“We want to engage the students in learning about technology and engineering of automobiles so they will want to study about motor sports careers,” said Sandra Baker of the local chamber. “The automobile becomes the learning vehicle for the student engagement.”

When Jaeden Crain, 14, an eighth-grader at DCMS from Alvaton, sat in the driver’s seat of the Camaro, a big smile crossed his face. His dad and he are building a 1967 Super Sport Camaro that Jaeden hopes to pilot when he reaches driving age.

“We’re still putting it together. I want to have it done in the next three to four years,” he said.

Jaeden, like 13-year-old Bragg Smingler-Weeks, agreed the sound of the green Camaro, its pipes throttling in the morning stillness, was pretty cool.

Bragg said she appreciated the opportunity to check out the car and to do the physics lesson.

“We were surprised that it had a stick shift,” Bragg said.

– For more information on 2017 On Track, visit content/uploads/2016/08/LIFT_KY_OnTrack Initiative_CompletePacket_PR_FactSheet_Aug2016.pdf