Sometimes, students learn the most memorable lessons when they forget someone is teaching. As educators, we’re always looking for new ways to achieve those “lightbulb moments” that set off chain reactions of insights, realizations, and quests for more discoveries.

There’s a time to get the class out of the classroom and into the world where students of all ages don’t simply learn new things but also learn to love learning, itself. There are so many places where we can bring our classroom lessons to life — parks, museums, historical sites, businesses, and, one of my perennial favorites, the go-kart track.

Now, before you raise your left eyebrow in the shape of a hairpin turn, keep an open mind, and I will explain why a day at the track can leave every student smiling, smarter, and looking forward to more science, math, technology, and other subjects.

A nationally recognized Common Core/Next Generation STEM Academy is right around the corner.

Developed in collaboration with Chicago Heights School District 170, the Autobahn STEM Academy, with a curriculum aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, brings together complete lessons in science, math, physics, and mechanics at the racing-themed entertainment centers that feature Formula 1-inspired electric pro-karts that can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour. 

Designed and created by experienced STEM educators, the Academy serves students in grades 3-12 and provides a hands-on, 21st-century experiential learning opportunity to apply what they’ve learned while driving a go-kart on the race track.

While Autobahn Indoor Speedway appeals to all ages, our team makes a special commitment to youth. In addition to the STEM Academy, the tracks have partnered with Special Olympics and conducted safe driving initiatives for high school students in each of their local markets. 

Learn by doing, seeing, hearing, and reading/writing.

It’s true that every student has a preferred style of learning — visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or reading/writing. Yet, each person represents a mix of styles, and instructional approaches that immerse students with multiple types at once can lead to better understanding and retention.

At Autobahn STEM Academy, students enjoy classroom-style lessons in our large, multimedia conference room where they complete quizzes and essay questions; absorb concepts through graphs, pictures, and videos; listen to short lectures, and put their learning into action by doing.

Learn Science, Math, and Technology in one day.

At Autobahn, students can learn important, practical lessons in science, math, and technology.  Our full curriculum includes:

Next Generation Science Standards

Motion and Stability, Forces Standards

  • MS-PS2-1

Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

  • MS-PS2-2

Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Energy Standards

  • MS-PS3-1

Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.

  • MS-PS3-2

Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.

Common Core State Standards — Math

Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.G.A.2

Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, and with technology) geometric shapes with given conditions. Focus on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.G.A.5

Use informal arguments to establish facts about the angle sum and exterior angle of triangles, about the angles created when parallel lines are cut by a transversal, and the angle-angle criterion for similarity of triangles.

Core State Standards – Reading/Technology

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.3-5.4

Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3-5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3-5.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.4

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.6

Acquire and use accurate, grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.6

Acquire and use accurate, grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.6

Acquire and use accurate, grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Learning is Playing. Playing is Learning.

Autobahn is the perfect place for your students to learn and play as long as they are at least 8 years old and 48 inches tall. If they are at least 13 years old and 56 inches tall, they can even drive the full-size, adult prokarts.

Your students will absorb so much by simply having fun, and the lessons they take away can last a lifetime. Every animal, including humans, learns by playing.

They will learn so much by playing here, learn more about our field trips by clicking here.