Back in 2008, I read a story about a teacher who used NASCAR to make learning math less painful for his students.
Tom Baughman, then teaching the fourth grade, called it “NASCAR Math,” and takes the same principles crew chiefs use on the track for his students to use in his classroom.
Students measure the angles of “banking,” distances traveled, and various mathematical principles. After these tasks are completed, students pick a die-cast car they want to race in the “Review Race.”
During the race, students answer questions correctly to advance on the track. First to cross the finish line wins.
Race teams and drivers were so impressed with the program that they have donated materials for the students.
At the same time, my best friend's daughter was learning addition, heading into double-digit addition.
My best friend and I watch NASCAR races together every week. We have every driver memorized (well, usually by the fifth race!) and her son doesn't know that Junior drives the No. 88—he just roots for “the 88 car.”
So we came up with a game one day while watching a race we weren't so excited with.
Our own version of “NASCAR Math.”
We called it “NASCAR Driver Math.”
The basic concept is simple.
If you don't already know the list of all NASCAR drivers, make a list with their names and numbers.
Then simply add and subtract drivers, using their names.
Joey Logano minus Kyle Busch equals Kurt Busch. (20 – 18 = 2)
You can even get super fancy, using several drivers in one equation.
Tony Stewart plus Greg Biffle minus David Ragan equals Jeff Gordon. (14 + 16 – 6 = 24)
Once you master addition and subtraction, you can get into the higher numbered drivers using multiplication.
Denny Hamlin multiplied by (former driver) Aric Almirola equals Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (11 x 8 = 88)
And of course, division!
Carl Edwards divided by Kasey Khane equals Denny Hamlin. (99 / 9 = 11)
I can keep going forever, but I think the concept is easy to grasp.
This can be used for any sport, any type of racing, and can make learning fun.
Or at least, fun for the adults!
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