Greenpower racing builds STEM skills and confidence

MADISON – Greenpower was the topic of “Sittin’ With the Supe,” a recent podcast by Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols.

Nichols questioned and listened to Greenpower Racing sponsors, Jackie Smith, fifth-grade teacher at Mill Creek Elementary School for 17 years, and Jessye Gaines, Engineering Academy teacher at Bob Jones High School for 13 years.

Smith and Gaines explained the sports’ origins and ways that students pursue STEM interests and develop social skills by participating with a Greenpower team.

In the late 1990s, Greenpower started in the United Kingdom as a response to engineering companies in Sussex. Students needed to graduate with STEM skills, Gaines said.

“Racing is very popular so they started teams with single-seat cars,” Gaines said. Enthusiasts initiated Greenpower USA around 2012, and Madison individuals followed the next year.

“The racing is such an easy sell for high-schoolers to get into, and it’s another STEM source. We have three F24 advanced single-seat cars that we travel with,” Gaines said. Bob Jones’ Greenpower car runs 90 minutes on 12-volt batteries.

Greenpower depends on many students who do not want to drive the car. The crew needs people for assembly, maintenance and videography.

“Half of the scoring involves a presentation – sometimes live with questions and answers, a video with a script or Google slides. We need students also on the media side to take photos and run presentations,” Gaines said.

Typical of their success, Greenpower Patriot Racing won first place with Blue Team Advanced Modified and with Red Team Custom Division at the Choccolocco Green Prix in Oxford. (bjhspatriotpages.com) Greenpower is one extracurricular activity that students will invite friends to observe.

On the elementary side, Nichols asked how an elementary student in fourth or fifth grade can assemble a car. “Mill Creek has three cars that students assembled themselves,” Smith said about the children’s abilities. Families get involved with the process.

“The kids open the kit box (with all component pieces). Day one, after school we take everything out of the box to be sure that we have everything that we need,” Smith said.

“Mill Creek has a smaller car, versus Bob Jones’ F24,” Smith said. “We enter races in Decatur and South Alabama. We’re hoping to have a race in Madison.”

At Bob Jones, the crew assembles Goblin cars. The level of modification depends on the division in which the car will race.

“The Greenpower car will go 18 miles per hour. Coming down a hill, we have clocked 30 mph for our car,” Smith said.

In addition to STEM lessons, Greenpower can boost a child’s independence. “A little girl in my class was introverted and rarely spoke to anybody, but she wanted to try the Greenpower team,” Smith said. “By end of the year, she was one of the best drivers.”

“You get to learn soft skills and how to interact. Also, students learn how to talk to adults in a conversation,” Smith said.

“Greenpower USA awards one scholarship per year to a high school senior,” Gaines said about the experience’s future benefits.

Nichols encourages families to find a Greenpower event “on a Saturday morning to see the students work. It’s an exciting program that is fun to watch.”

“Greenpower is a good opportunity. You can see the kids’ enthusiasm as they work and drive the cars,” Nichols said.

Events

Broadway Theatre League kicks off new season this month with “Johnny Cash – The Official Concert Experience” and “Come From Away”

Events

Third annual Railyard Barbeque Brawl and Music Fest will be held in downtown Madison Oct 28

Madison

Police say scammers are spoofing city phone number, calling residents to ask for personal information

Business

Sandy Robinson Leaves Positive Impact Through LEANWell Coaching

Madison

Madison Witches Ride to conjure 4 hours of hocus-pocus

Harvest

Reeves steps down at Partnership; Russell accepts job

Events

Digital version of the 2023 Madison Street Festival Guide

James Clemens High School

Jets grounded by undefeated Muscle Shoals

Discovery Middle School

Prabhakar named Thermo Fisher Scientific national finalist

Events

Madison Street Festival is only one week away! Here is what to expect

Madison

Mental Health Awareness Community Event benefits Triana

Harvest

MCCO’s fall concert, ‘In the Deep,’ explores water theme

Events

The entertainment will be rocking during the Madison Street Festival on Oct. 7

Harvest

Mozaic to host ‘Blues Brews & Boos’ for Enable

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – September 27, 2023

Harvest

MVP gives grant to Madison Hospital’s car-seat station

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

A New Beginning With Faith- Security Guard Gets Baptized At Madison Academy

Bob Jones High School

PTA Reflections open for students’ fine arts designs

Huntsville

Sparkman crushes Grissom 51-0 to stay perfect

Harvest

Mayor’s Cup Golf Tournament to premiere on Oct. 26

Madison

Fire alert issued for Alabama

James Clemens High School

Kris Gray earns LAMP award for library service

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones to host first Rocket City Marching Invitational on Saturday

Harvest

YMCA Interim President/CEO named; other jobs open

x