A Complement to a Great Curriculum
In addition to the more official standards mentioned below, sculpture racing provides a useful adjunct to existing curricula of value for both students and teachers.
- As a crossover between art, engineering, and sports, there’s something for every student.
- Additionally, as project-based learning, Sculpture Racing moves through various stages, from design, to building, to testing prototypes, to racing, so it can engage students with many different types of mind and character, allowing development of a well-rounded skill set.
- For teachers, it is chance to collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines.
- It provides an opportunity for students and teachers to get out of the classroom and into the field—maker spaces, testing grounds, and racecourses.
- It creates an esprit de corps of the Sculpture Racing Team and collaborating teachers.
- It provides an exciting high-visibility demonstration of learning, as teams compete in a public space. At the same time, the competitive element is only semi-serious. The highest value in the races is to create a spectacle, whether racers come in first or last.
STEM Standards (Massachusetts 2016)
Sculpture Racing, which includes collaborative design and building, usefully overlaps with 6 and 7th grade “Engineering Design” and 6th and 8th grade “Materials, Tools, and Manufacturing” standards. A well-designed course could also potentially deploy Sculpture Racing for addressing 7th and 8th grade “Physical Science” and “Technological Systems” standards.
English Language Arts Standards (Massachusetts 2011)
As a collaborative designing, building, and racing project, Sculpture Racing engages Speaking and Listening Standards for grades 6-8, including engaging in collaborative discussions, decision-making, progress tracking; integrating multimedia and visual displays; and adapting speech to a variety of contexts and tasks.
Skills for the 21st Century
Beyond the “3 Rs,” Sculpture Racing engages what have been called the “5 Cs” identified as critical skills for the 21st century: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.
- Creativity, the first C, demonstrates the importance of thinking in terms of “STEAM” education vs. “STEM” education, where the “A” is for Art. Design projects get kids started in the innovation economy.
- Critical thinking is requisite for engineering a racing sculpture that can traverse the whole racecourse without collapsing, problem solving issues that come up during trials, and synthesizing knowledge to have a chance at winning.
- Collaboration of course requires a high level of Communication skills, and additionally the flexibility of “disciplinary literacy,” as it is necessary to collaborate across the fields of art, engineering, making, and strategizing for the race event.