Many of the concepts behind Ten80 Education’s programming evolved back in the 1980’s when I was teaching middle school science outside of Atlanta. Though I was considered a “highly acclaimed educator”, I felt something was missing. I asked local STEM professionals in my community (though they weren’t called that then) to join me in the classroom and help us understand what science and math were good for. Though we didn’t know it at the time, the engineers and technicians and professors who answered my call were forming the first Ten80 teams.
Since then, Ten80 Education has continued to pair STEM professionals with educators to provide professional development for K-12 teachers and to develop innovative and effective supplemental K-12 programs like the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge.
Something I learned in those early years was that students need to practice math and science on their way to STEM careers or to ANY career for that matter; just as children practice baseball or basketball on their way to the MLB or the NBA. The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge and its elementary feeder, Driving STEM, build on students’ love of team sports, collaboration, design and competition. Even if motorsports isn’t interesting to them, the prospect of driving and learning how things work is. We’ve drawn on this inherent motivation to foster an interest in STEM. Though I had never watched a NASCAR or NHRA race in my life when my partners and I first tested this concept, I became an admirer of everything that goes into a racing team and racing event. I absolutely fell in love with the sport when I saw how it engaged students in STEM.
Those flagship programs are the basis upon which today’s K-12 lineup is built.
Founding Ten80 Educator, Current Board Chair Ten80 Foundation
STEMconnector 100 Women in STEM