Cornerstone Christian Academy and Jackson Township Elementary will participate in the eighth annual 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program.
The program helps students learn about Indiana's motorsports culture while incorporating Indiana Academic Standard-based curriculum.
"This field trip ties into lessons we teach the kids in class. We teach U.S. and Indiana history and the Indianapolis 500 is a big part of that history. With us (the school) being from the area we are, so close to Terre Haute and the Hulman family, this is a great way to teach that history and a great experience for the kids to do something they may never do again," Jackson Township fourth-grade teacher Debbie Mogan said.
Indianapolis 500 announcer and former WTHI broadcaster Mike King recently spoke to students at Jackson Township to prepare the children for their upcoming trip.
"I thought it was really awesome because my dad loves racing, and I went home and told him I got to meet Mike King at school and he said he wished he went to my school," fourth-grade Jackson Township student Cade Copper said.
During the trip, students will have the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to the motorsports racing industry. It is meant to teach the children about the heritage and significance of the Indianapolis 500 in Hoosier history.
"The ultimate goal of the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program is to provide a fun, educational environment in which to show fourth-graders the historical and social significances of the 500 Festival and the Indiana motorsports industry," President and CEO of the 500 Festival Kirk Hendrix said.
"When Mike King was here, I learned how important math and science is to be able to figure out how much gas to put in the car to run the race. We also learned that the first seatbelt and rearview mirror was made because of the racecars," Cooper said.
During the field trip, students will break up into stations. They will learn about the importance of the flags and hand signals used as a form of communication, tour the Hall of Fame Museum, learn Indiana Motor Speedway history and traditions, gain knowledge about the careers associated with IndyCar, such as pit crew members, drivers and team owners. The students will learn about track and driver safety at the medical safety station, what makes an IndyCar go and how laps are detected at such a fast pace.
The students will also go behind the scenes of Victory Podium and the Pagoda.
Cornerstone Christian will travel to Indianapolis Tuesday, April 12, and Jackson Township Elementary will attend the festival the following Tuesday, April 19.
Statewide, 321 schools in 79 Indiana counties are enrolled in this program, and a total of 23,826 students will attend the education program this year.
The 500 Festival was created in 1957 to organize civic event, and the festival is a non-for-profit volunteer organization.