Four trophies will be awarded to schools competing in the first-ever diversepower Grand Prix race at LaGrange College. High school and middle school teams race electric cars that they've built themselves. ARLINDA SMITH BROADY/AJC

STEM meets NASCAR Saturday in LaGrange

What do you get when you cross the thrill of car racing with the educational learning experience of robotics competitions?

If you ask educators in LaGrange, GA, they’ll tell you its GreenpowerUSA kit cars competing in regional Grand Prix races.

GreenpowerUSA is a nonprofit founded in May 2014 in Huntsville, Ala. It’s a STEM initiative that give students the opportunity to put science, technology, engineering and math lessons to practical use. Through hands-on project management, participants program, design, build and race student-driven electric racecars.

In just a few years the program has risen to over 150 teams in 15 states across the country. 

Ranging in price from $2,000 for the elementary school model to $5,000 for the kits aimed at middle- and high-schoolers, the students use their creativity, skills and knowledge to create their own unique vehicle.

The basic structure can be used over and over again and last about ten years.

G Masters, an electric racecar built by students at Gardner Newman Middle School in LaGrange will compete Saturday in the first-ever diversepower Grand Prix. ARLINDA SMITH BROADY/AJC

“What else can buy for $5,000 for a school that will last ten years?” said Chip Giles, principal of Long Cane Middle School in 

LaGrange.

His school got started a year ago and have now become state ambassadors.

“I’d like to see this in every school in the state,” he said.

For those who aren’t convinced the GreenpowerUSA cars are a great way to get kids excited about learning, Giles invites you to the Diversepower Grand Prix this weekend at LaGrange College.

"Pinkie" was built by students from San Benito High School in San Benito, Texas. The students traveled to LaGrange, GA to compete in the first-ever diversepower Grand Prix Saturday. ARLINDA SMITH BROADY/AJC

Teams from as far as South Texas and Central Florida are among the contestants vying for the first-ever trophies from a Georgia-based competition of this kind.

If you go:

diversepower Grand Prix

Gates open at 6 a.m. Saturday. The first race starts at 8:45 a.m. with awards ceremony at 5 p.m.

LaGrange College, 801 Dallis Street, LaGrange

Free admission. Food trucks will be on site.

Information: greenpowerusa.net

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