NASA & Pocono Raceway Collaborate to Promote STEM

WASHINGTON – During the upcoming NASCAR race event, NASA’s Learning Environments & Research Networks (LE&RN) Rockets to Racecars (R2R) education program will provide the public an opportunity to explore science, technology, education and math (STEM) and learn about the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover mission to Mars. The event will be held Aug. 3-5 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.

“Pocono Raceway has opened its doors to share facilities and resources to make NASA’s participation possible,” said Bonnie Murray, NASA education specialist. “The ability to bring information about this exciting NASA mission to the fans, and to provide children and families attending the event with fun and educational activities is a checkered flag win for everyone involved.”

During the event, families can go to the Kids Zone from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m to see a model of the MSL, a tire from the Curiosity rover and to test their skills at landing successfully on Mars. They will also learn about the science of flight and racing at NASA’s R2R exhibit, and meet Robonaut, the first robotic astronaut assistant.

Prior to the event, there will be a teacher professional development workshop at the raceway where participants will hear from Murray, JPL Digital Learning Coordinator Lyle Tavernier, and NASA planetary scientist Dr. Heidi Hammel. Teachers will learn about NASA resources including the R2R STEM education program, the MSL mission to Mars, and the NASA Engineering design challenge, “Touchdown Challenge”. They will participate in the NASAR2R social media event that will coincide with the NASA multicenter MSL Social occurring on the same day.

The teachers will also get to visit the racetrack to see how NASCAR provides shock absorption with the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier on the racetrack. All of their training will lead to their ability to share their knowledge of NASA at the Kids Zone area during the actual event. The workshop will be streamed over the Internet on Aug. 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET here:

NASA LE&RN is a project within the Elementary-Secondary Education Program of NASA’s Office of Education. Its primary focus is on the use of educational technologies for science technology education and math (STEM) content delivery to students of all ages, online professional development courses, experiences and events, and the research and development of learning tools and methods within tomorrow’s learning environments. The project serves both teachers and students through interactive virtual connections.

For more information about Rockets to Racecars, visit:

The public can follow the NASAR2R social at:

For more information about the NASCAR race schedule, visit:

For more information about MSL, visit:

For more information about NASA research and exploration, visit:

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