|Posted by Anne Siren on December 22, 2012 at 2:25 PM|
By Judy Vik
Pompano Beach – Students at Crystal Lake Middle School got a special treat last week when a Daytona International Speedway race car made a stop at the school.
The 2010 Chevrolet, wrapped with logos, is touring the state through February to promote “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida.”
Crystal Lake and Lauderdale Lakes Middle Schools were the only Broward County schools selected for the visit.
Students were invited outside to get an up-close look at the car, but first they heard from Hope Colle of the Florida Department of Education and John Pickard, who conducts tours of the speedway and brought the car.
Colle said Florida schools used to be in the bottom 40th percentile among states in reading. “But now, after implementing some good reading strategies, we have made great gains, and our eighth-graders are eighth in the nation in reading.
“We’re celebrating our successes,” Colle said. “We want to be at the head of the race. We want to be the No. 1 state. Now we have other states looking at Florida to see what we’re doing.”
Colle said students who read an extra 20 minutes a day after school are better students. “Think about that, and take that extra 20 minutes to read,” she said.
Promoting that concept, the state is challenging students to “rev-up” and read for an additional 20 minutes during the day on Monday, Jan. 14, in a “Million Minute Marathon.”
“We will add the minutes up and try to reach our goal of 30 million minutes,” Colle said. Last year the goal of 20 million minutes was exceeded by five million.
Students will be encouraged to read at the same time from a magazine, book, newspaper, a blog post – whatever appeals to them.
Then it was Pickard’s turn to emphasize the importance of literacy and educate the students about the race car.
He said a lot of planning went into building the car, starting in a drawing room, then to the chassis builder and fabricator.
“Safety features are built in to protect the driver from getting hurt in a crash,” he said. “The average speed is 200 mph. Some crashes are very horrendous, and (with the safety features) a driver can walk out unscathed.”
Pickard explained that the car’s tires are slick for better traction. Windows are all plastic, so they don’t shatter. And the car has two holes in the back window with hoses connected to the brakes and transmission so they can be cooled. If the brakes get hot, they lose their stopping power.
Next he quizzed the students with a trick question. “How many miles is the Daytona 500?”
That would be 500.
“And now for a math question: “If driving one lap takes 2-1/2 minutes, how many laps does it take to go 500 miles?”
A student quickly answered, “200.”
Pickard said a really good pit stop takes 12-13 seconds. That’s when the crews change all four tires, clean the windshield and add fuel.
Crystal Lakes Middle School will take part in Celebrate Literacy Week by participating in the Million Minute Marathon and having a book fair that week and a Family Literacy Night on Jan. 16, according to Tarshe’ Freeman, Reading Department chairperson and literacy coach.