STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is being supported by NASCAR, who announced a new program to teach students science and mathematics.

Acceleration Nation is a new partnership between the auto racing organization and educational publisher Scholastic. The program will focus on the trio of forces that help determine velocity of vehicles, including race cars - drag, drafting, and downforce.

"NASCAR Acceleration Nation is about bringing kids closer to our sport in an entertaining and educational way. When you look at the speed and design of our racecars and their performance on the track, NASCAR represents a unique platform to teach math and science. Our goal is to make learning these subjects fun for kids," Brent Dewar, chief operating officer of Nascar, said.

The Acceleration Nation Web site features games and other activities for kids, each with a Nascar theme.

They are divided into four categories - Build, Think, Move, and Team Up. Math skills can be tested with Flash Cars, or measure their knowledge of engines with Under the Hood. Fun games include a racing game called RaceFlex, or take a quiz to see which Sprint Car driver they are most like. A section of trivia questions allows kids to test their knowledge of the history and people of Nascar.

Teachers are supported by the program through lesson plans, resource sheets, and assessments and standards, including pre-assessment and post-assessment materials. Three lesson plans include educational materials cover drag, downforce, and drafting (the effect of air pressure changes caused by vehicles on the car behind them).

"Racecars are designed to force air to flow faster underneath them than over the top. The low pressure below the car sucks it down toward the track. At the same time, high air pressure pushes down on the car from above," the Downforce Activity Sheet reads.

Video resources are also available on the Web site, to assist educators in teaching the lessons.

The NASCAR Acceleration Nation Experience will be the physical representation of the program, appearing at some race weekends. The 6,400 square foot exhibit for children and adults will feature a stock car in which kids can sit, feeling what it is like to drive such a car.

Acceleration Nation is the first major educational program for children sponsored by the motor sports industry. Learning materials created to accompany the program are designed to match Next Generation Science standards, as well as those developed by individual states. Materials will be distributed to almost 200,000 students in 7,400 classrooms.

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