F1 in Schools is a program designed to excite middle and high school students about math and science and to encourage them to consider a career in science or engineering. It introduces students to the engineering process. The F1 in Schools program complements the very successful A World in Motion (AWIM) program for kindergarten through 9th grade and the Collegiate Design Series for college students, going beyond textbook theory by designing, building and testing the performance of a real vehicle.
Headed up by the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, F1 in Schools came to Arizona a year ago at Chandler’s Hamilton High School as a pilot program for all the Chandler Unified School District high schools. The goal was to have Hamilton High School compete in regional and national competition events during the 2014-2015 school year, and then expand the program to more Arizona high schools during the following school year. An F1 team sponsored by the Sun Lakes Rotary Club won the statewide competition and competed in the US/Canada competition on May 16 at Michigan International Raceway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
In the most recent competition, a team named Apex, comprised of all seniors from Hamilton High School in the Chandler Unified School District, took the title. This team and one from Perry High School will be going to the US/Canada competition in Michigan this May. Bill McCoach, President of the Sun Lakes Rotary Club, presented Craig Gilbert from the Chandler Unified School District a check for $1,000 to help cover the travel costs for the Hamilton and Perry teams.
The CO2 cartridge-powered cars are tested using wind and smoke tunnel equipment to fine tune designs to optimize speed and drag co-efficiency. During the race, teams are judged on car speed as well as supporting evidence of their design in portfolios. Each team’s presentation and marketing display in ‘the pits’ are also factored into their performance. The race cars are roughly the size of a Pinewood Derby car, and they race on a level 65-foot-long track, powered by a standard CO2 cartridge that gets pierced by the starting device. Eyelets under the car follow a tether, so aerodynamic downforce is not required to keep the car on the track and neutral lift reduces friction drag.
For general information about the F1 in Schools program, go to www.f1inschools.sae.org. For information about F1 programs in Arizona, contact Sun Lakes Rotarian Don Robins at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 248-807-3604.