This past Father’s Day on June 18, the Department of Education, in partnership with the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation, hosted its inaugural Staten Island/NYC Soap Box Derby at the Michael J. Petrides Educational Complex in Staten Island’s Sunnyside neighborhood.

The derby provided students, ages 7 – 14, with a chance to represent their schools and compete against each other with self-built motorless vehicles called “soapboxes” or “gravity racers” that are raced on downhill roads at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

image2 (1)The event itself was divided into two races; one for Staten Island-based students and schools, and the other was a citywide race that featured students from Brooklyn and Staten Island. Participants in the citywide race competed for a chance to represent the City at the 80th First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby on July 22 in Akron, Ohio. Overall, about 70 students representing over 30 City schools participated in both races.

Prior to the derby, participating students spent weeks building and testing their soapbox cars in their schools. To build the cars, each school ordered special kits that contained step-by-step instructions regarding how to construct the vehicles. Once the kits arrived, each school selected a team of students to work with each other to build, test, and race their school’s soapbox car. Schools used the derby as a way to institute STEM-based instruction into their curricula while promoting the importance of teamwork and communication during group-based projects among their students.

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To check out photos and videos from this wonderful event, check out District 31 and the Staten Island Borough Field Support Team’s respective Twitter feeds, and view the #SoapBoxDerbySI tag on Twitter, as well.

On behalf of the DOE, we thank everyone who participated in the event, and we wish our citywide race winners success during the All-American Soap Box Derby in Ohio on July 22!

Posted by The Morning Bell

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