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Hot Wheels Speedometry STEM Education Tool

Publication date: 
Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hot Wheels® Speedometry™ encourages inquiry and real-world, problem-based learning through play, hands-on activities and in-depth lesson plans that support both Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. This education curriculum, co-created with researchers at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, combines Hot Wheels® fun, imagination, and action, as well as toys and track to accelerate learning.
Speedometry™ is a free-to-use curriculum targeting fourth grade (8-9 year old) students. Comprised of two units with up to six lessons per unit, Speedometry™ provides coursework intended to cover a period of 10-12 days. Students work in collaborative learning groups to deepen their understanding of speed, angles, slopes, collisions, kinetic energy, and potential energy. The lessons and activities aim to put students on course for success in science and mathematics. A kindergarten curriculum for 5-6 year olds is currently in development and will be released at a later date.

With support from the Mattel Children’s Foundation, five faculty members began working with Hot Wheels® designers and (S)cience (T)echnology (E)ngineering (M)ath teachers in April 2013 to develop tools for teaching scientific concepts like velocity, kinetic energy and gravity using the miniature toy cars and modular track already beloved by children. USC Rossier education professors Gale Sinatra, Julie Marsh, Morgan Polikoff, Frederick Freking, and Angela Hasan led the project for a Speedometry™ curriculum for the elementary school students that will help teachers and parents reinforce key STEM concepts. The Speedometry™ curriculum is aligned with the rigorous expectations outlined in the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, and includes inquiry, play-based, and hands-on activities.

The Rossier team is currently piloting Speedometry™ in schools throughout the greater Los Angeles area, and will evaluate teacher feedback, as well as assess the effects of the curriculum on student knowledge, engagement and motivation to learn. “With the need for more students in the STEM fields, teachers and parents need to find ways to make scientific topics engaging and accessible for students from an early age,” said Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher. “The Speedometry curriculum brings science to life for kids while also being grounded by the research and assessment of learning experts in the field of education.

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