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Fun 2 Discover, the presenting sponsor of Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding To Read, is providing a free rocket building competition among the 14 participating elementary schools and more than 7,500 students in the educational program.
There currently are 29 teams from Dallas ISD, Mesquite ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Lewisville ISD, and Little Elm ISD entered in the rocket building competition from among 10 of the Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover schools that will begin Monday, Nov. 26, and conclude March 1, 2019. The rockets will be judged and awarded prizes in the following categories: best craftsmanship, best paint design, best performance and best overall rocket.
Brent Elementary principal, Virginia Gwyn, said they reached out to her earlier in the school year to see if anyone from her campus would be interested. "This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to do something outside of what they are learning in the classroom. We have pulled together five teams; two 4th grade teams and three 5th grade teams with a total of 45 students participating from Brent," said Gwyn. "We have been meeting once a week every morning before school designing our rockets. We will start building after we come back from the winter break. The students are very excited."
Gwyn unpacking a rocket building kit her teams received. The students will begin assembly in January 2019.
The rockets will measure 7½ feet tall, 7½ inches in diameter and weigh 17 pounds, which includes a parachute recovery system that is six feet in diameter.
The competition will culminate in March with a launch of every rocket in the competition at a yet-to-be-determined site in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex so the teams, parents, fellow students, and media can attend the celebration of the completed projects.
Fun 2 Discover will purchase the rocket building kits for every team, which are valued at $300 each, and also provide more than $6,000 in prizes to help further the students' education in S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects.
NASA astronaut Bruce Melnick, who served as a flight engineer on the first flight of the Shuttle Endeavor and logged more than 300 hours in space, will be part of the judging panel and personally award the prizes to the winning teams in the various categories. He also plans to visit the participating schools and students throughout the competition to offer encouragement as well as take part in the launch event.
"We are thrilled that the Speeding To Read schools have entered 29 teams in our rocket competition," Fun 2 Discover President Barry Atkins said. "This program is a great way to get kid's hands-on experience building a large rocket and then watching it fly. We hope this will become an annual competition with Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover with additional school participation. We are grateful to LOC Precision, our rocket supplier, for redesigning the LOC-VII rocket to make it easier for elementary-level kids to build it."
In the midst of its eighth year, Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M Powered by Fun 2 Discover has had 64 schools and 35,735 students participate and collectively read more than 5.2 million books. This year's enrollment of 14 schools and 7,594 students increases the overall totals to 78 schools and 43,329 students.
Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding To Read S.T.E.A.M. Powered by Fun 2 Discover program is supported by the following partners: Fun 2 Discover, NASCAR, Verizon IndyCar Series, Lionel Racing, Speedway World, Levy Restaurants, The Speedway Club, Food for the Soul, aai Trophies and Awards of Plano, Jostens, Woolley's Frozen Custard, Reunion Tower, Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter and Team Texas High Performance Driving School.