The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, PNC Bank, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation hosted over 500 DPS students May 30, 2013 at the Grand Prix Education Day as part of the PNC Fifth Gear and Grow Up Great programs.
Fifth-grade and prekindergarten students participated in hands-on activities that use racing to teach lessons in math, science and technology.
Building on the program created around the Grand Prix in 2012, Fifth Gear combines a mathematics and science curriculum to generate excitement among DPS fifth graders for careers in science, technology, engineering and math through real-world applications in motorsports. The program is funded by a grant from the PNC Bank Foundation under the stewardship of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.
Participating schools in the Fifth Gear program incorporated the curriculum into their classrooms throughout the school year. Working with actual motorsports organizations like the New Hudson-based Pratt & Miller team, which helps manage many of Chevrolet’s racing programs, and representatives from Ilmor Engineering, based in Plymouth, the students experienced hands-on activities at the Grand Prix and visited the Raceway at Belle Isle Park to continue their education as they participated in demonstrations focused on key concepts in racing like friction, gravity, aerodynamics and safety.
Fifth-Gear Program Video:
PNC Bank’s signature philanthropic program, Grow Up Great, is a multi-year, $350 million initiative designed to improve early childhood education – particularly in underserved areas. Through Grow Up Great, PNC emphasizes the importance of the first five years of life, which research has shown is critical to long-term achievement, by helping families, educators and community partners provide innovative opportunities that enhance learning and development in a child’s early years.
Grow Up Great Video:
The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and PNC Bank unveiled plans for the 2013 Grow Up Great and Fifth Gear programs on April 16 to help educate DPS students through motorsports. Driver Christian Fittipaldi joined representatives from the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, PNC Bank, Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation at a special press conference to announce the Grow Up Great and Fifth Gear programs that were featured during the Grand Prix, May 31 – June 2.
Over 300 fifth-graders representing 14 schools through the Fifth Gear program and over 220 children from 14 schools in the Grow Up Great initiative participated in the event.
Robotics teams from Cass Technical High School and East English Village Preparatory Academy also participated in activities during race week.