Hundreds of Fifth Grade Students Learned STEM Skills at SAE International/Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Event

WARRENDALE, PA./ NOVEMBER 21, 2018/ Creating the most efficient and smooth-running balloon-powered vehicle was the task for 500 fifth grade students on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Atlanta during the SAE International A World In Motion® (AWIM) JetToy Competition, hosted by Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG).

Working in design teams, students culminated their classroom experience by building and testing model JetToy cars that they have analyzed for weeks. Throughout the competition, the students engaged in a variety of distance, accuracy and timed events applying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

“It is so exciting and encouraging to watch tomorrow’s engineers at work. These students are powering our future with their imaginations and tenacity, just as they are propelling these JetToys with balloon power,” David L. Schutt, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of SAE International, said. “SAE International thanks Kia Motors for their generosity and continued support of this important learning endeavor.”

The event was held at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, and included students from Troup County, GA.; Lanett, AL.; Harris County, GA.; Meriwether County, GA.; Carroll County, GA; and Chambers County, AL. Dozens of volunteers from KMMG supported the event by judging the competitions.

“We have more than 40 team members serving as mentors in the classroom and volunteering here today,” said Stuart Countess, Chief Administrative Officer, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. “Our goal is to bring text book lessons alive and help students realize the skills they are learning have real world applications in the workplace.”

In the JetToy curriculum, a fictitious toy company called EarthToy Designs presents the challenge in the form of a letter. The company requests that students provide a variety of interesting designs for a new line of balloon-powered vehicles made from inexpensive, common materials that will appeal to other children. Working in design teams, students build and test model JetToy cars, and collect and analyze data to understand the effect of several variables on the performance of the toys. They create multiple designs and test them, then give a formal presentation of their final JetToy designs.

Throughout the curriculum and during the November 15 competition, students explored the scientific concepts of jet propulsion, friction, air resistance and design, as well as soft skills such as collaboration, problem solving, innovative thinking and teamwork.

AWIM is a teacher-administered, industry volunteer-assisted program that brings STEM education to life in the classroom for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Benchmarked to the national standards, the AWIM program incorporates integrated STEM learning experiences through hands-on activities that reinforce classroom STEM learning.

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