Friday, May 22, 2015

Indy in our classroom!

Quelle belle journee!  What a beautiful day!  Sometimes I love my job so much I think I may vibrate out of my skin.  Today was definitely one of those days.  We have been learning about simple machines and building devices that move and the kids worked so hard on their Angry Birds projects.  Today was like the cherry on top of the awesome cake.  Our class was lucky enough to have a very special guest speaker all the way from Indianapolis, USA.  

Thanks to Mr. Livingston from CanTorque (Edmonton) and the Tagliani Autosport team we were able to Skype a real Indy 500 race car LIVE into our classroom! FROM THE ACTUAL INDY 500!!

First he showed us a bit of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (which we had looked up on Google Earth - WOW!  Yes, that is a golf course in the middle of the track.)

Then when the crew was ready we were able to see the driver, the talented (and Canadian!) Alex Tagliani, take off for a practice run.  VROOOOM!!!   It. Was. Awesome!!!!!!!!  The kids cheered!!

The noise was so intense our technology couldn't handle it and we lost audio.  We noticed flashes of colour dance across the screen and soon realized that it was the Indy cars zooming by so fast we could hardly see them.  Mr Livingston said they can reach speeds of up to 235MPH, about 400KM!  He added "They will pull 5-6 g's going through the corner. So a 150lb driver will fee like they weigh 900 lbs!"

He was gracious enough to answer some of the kids questions:
How long does it take to get around the track?  How long is the real race?

About 50 seconds and the track is 2.5 miles. Race will take about 3 hours. Very very hard on the body and lots of fluid loss.  The driver will lose 8-10 lbs during the race
How much does the car weigh?  Have you ever been able to drive an Indy car?
The car weighs about 1600 lbs. Sorry for the imperial but in the U.S. It's all we have!
No, you can't drive them. They are very rigorous with the engines, can't do anything without a representative from the factory. I have driven a formula Atlantic car which is a step below these. Great questions guys!
What do you like best about racing?  What's your favorite race car?
I love competition! It's also really fun to drive very fast without worrying about getting a speeding ticket.  
Fav race car, great question! I'd have to say our NASCAR Canadian Tire car that we run across Canada! I really love watching these Indy cars but prefer when they run on road and street courses. I like right and left hand turns
This is their NASCAR - SO COOL!!!
This weekend's Indy 500 big race on Sunday at 10:15am our time.  See a live stream of the track all weekend HERE.

Tagliani also supports allergy awareness through his fantastic sponsors, EpiPen and one of their initiatives is the Summer of Tag or Ete de Tag.  It is a great contest I am going to promote in our school because it helps to acknowledge our Allergy Heroes.  See more details on the above links or click on the image below.

As part of my pre-teaching lesson for today we looked up Alex Tagliani as well as the science of Indy and found some great videos.  You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I love the SKYPE idea! You and your students may be interested in our latest series on The Physics of Racing at The Physics Classroom's Google+ site: