Indiana State University Newsroom

Summer motorsports camp in Indianapolis to teach children about math, science

May 23, 2011

Indiana State University will present a summer camp in Indianapolis to teach children about math and science through motorsports.

The camp is made possible by a grant the ISU motorsports studies program received from the Collectors Foundation, a not-for-profit dedicated to increasing awareness of collectible vehicles and boats among young adults. The funding of more than $9,100 will be used for the day camp at the Indiana State Museum from June 6-10. Two dozen children ages 9 to 12 will split into six teams to build racecars during the weeklong camp in activities that will teach them about math, science and engineering in racing.

"It's a very elaborate curriculum," said Joyce Young, director of the motorsports studies program, "and it's based on using radio controlled racecars to teach the science concepts."

The Collectors Foundation was interested in the camp because it provides an opportunity to teach children about fields related to math, science and technology, which are vital in vehicle restoration technology, said Bob Knechel, executive director of the foundation based in Traverse City, Mich.

The summer camp is "kind of a different venue for us," he added, "but one nevertheless that could be pretty exciting and educationally significant."

A large portion of the grant funding paid for the curriculum used in the weeklong day camp, Young said. In the camp, the students will modify remote-controlled racecars to best deal with daily changes in course obstacles, including a bridge that will be altered in different ways.

"It teaches them a lot about some relatively simple math concepts," Young said, "but it's the concepts that the racing engineers would have to go through on race day."

Young worked with Carrie Miller, science and technology program developer at the Indiana State Museum, to prepare for the camp. Children attending the camp also will learn about additional elements of racing by touring the museum, Miller said.

Young is "very enthusiastic about the camp," Miller added.

The funding will also provide scholarships to 12 of the 24 students in the camp and stipends to several Indiana State University students who will work at the event.

The camp is interesting because it provides a more direct opportunity to teach math and science skills, which are also important and required of vehicle restorers and in classic boat construction, Knechel said.

"It was a good initiative, a good pilot program, and it's the kind of thing that can be duplicated in other settings around the country," he said of the camp, "and we're always interested in looking at programs that have a very specific format with the possibility of being duplicated."

More information about the summer camp can be found on the Indiana State Museum website at

About the Collectors Foundation: The Collectors Foundation is an educational grant-making organization funded by collector vehicle and classic boat enthusiasts to serve youth development and the long-term interests of the collector vehicle and classic boat communities. More information about the Foundation can be found on its website:

Contact: Joyce Young, director of motorsports studies program, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2000 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or