Cougar Strong Race team combines sports and STEM to engage Long Cane students – LaGrange Daily News

The Cougar Strong Race team is extra than simply center schoolers driving round in automobiles, it’s a STEM program that permits youngsters to begin taking theoretical data and making use of it to actual life eventualities.
The Cougar Strong Race team was based at Long Cane Middle School 5 years in the past underneath the stewardship of Mathew Graham. Each grade degree has their very own separate team. Graham began at Long Cane as a science instructor, however his obligations have morphed through the years to the purpose that the Cougar Strong Race team is his sole duty on the college.
When he isn’t instructing the category and working with the students after college, he’s spreading Greenpower racing to different colleges within the county. In the final yr, he has helped kickstart applications at Callaway High and Troup County High.
This team has introduced individuals from all types of backgrounds into this system, and many don’t take part in different sports. Sport is a little bit of a unfastened time period because the team encompasses a variety of ability units; some members of the team drive, others are part of the pit crew, and others are on the advertising and marketing team — these people put collectively movies and advertising and marketing methods.
“Some need to be mechanics, some need to be engineers, some like public talking and advertising and marketing or they like engaged on a pc constructing web sites,” Graham mentioned. “It’s not only a racing program, it’s a real STEM program the place we will dig into all these completely different areas.”
Graham says that he was shocked when about 40% of the individuals making use of for positions have been women. Racing has usually been considered male-dominated business, however Graham is completely satisfied to see his program convey all types of individuals out.
Plenty of the students that be part of this system do not need expertise or a background in automotive.
“Probably like 20% (have a background in automotive), ” Graham mentioned. “Plenty of them have by no means turned a wrench. They don’t know what a socket or a ratchet is.”
“We have an incredible software assortment and the children get to find out about all these instruments and how to use them,” he mentioned. “Wal-mart Distribution Center was an enormous a part of that.”
Graham has not constructed this program alone; he has had assist from the area people and his fellow instructor and coach Chris McCalla. Diverse Power has given the team $10,000 a yr for the final a number of years.
The program helps construct futures for the students but additionally provides them a spot within the right here and now.
“There’s a whole lot of youngsters that don’t have a spot, particularly on the center college degree, so this provides them a chance to be part of a team and discover some belonging in that,” Graham mentioned.
Despite the truth that Graham is the instructor and coach, through the races the students are inspired to discover options to the issues on their very own.
“The better part is once they have issues; issues they’ve to repair and work out throughout a race,” Graham mentioned.
“Two weeks in the past, midway via the race we heard a sound once they have been going across the curves. Finally, the automotive fails and stops,” he mentioned. “The purpose is to get in as many laps as you’ll be able to. They skipped their lunch break and acquired the automotive mounted for the subsequent race and completed second place.”
The racing is simply half of what the Cougar Strong Team is all about; the opposite half is the presentation side which varies at completely different races.
“At this race, it was a video about your team’s marketing strategy,” Graham mentioned. “You had to introduce your team, share your marketing strategy, present your automotive and inform [a panel of judges] the way you modified your automotive and made it higher.”
The team has been actually profitable too: The eighth grade team has received two nationwide titles.

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