New educational program uses go-karts

By: Frank Waugh Email
By: Frank Waugh Email

Go-karts can be a lot of fun, and as some local high school students found out, they can also be used for education.

“I am learning about all calculations with the motors and how much weight you need, for the batteries and how big the batteries have to be,” said New Prairie graduate Kameron Coffinge.

The machine is 100 percent electric. In fact, it uses the same batteries as the Chevy Volt.

The ultimate goal of this program is to get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. What better way than a go-kart that goes 45 miles per hour?

“Something like the electric vehicle gets them interested,” said Karl Perusich. “We start with the electric vehicle, the go kart, and then we work our way back and say this is how the math fits into this, here is how the design fits in to all of this.”

And it is that knowledge that employers like General Motors want.

“If they can associate and broaden their view of this go cart to a Chevy Volt, a Cadillac ATS or any of the other vehicles that are out there, that knowledge transfer will be advantages to us,” said Bill Muzzillo the director of university relations at General Motors.

This parking lot classroom is bringing this knowledge to a new generation in a way that they enjoy.

“Going to a classroom and learning is boring but when you have go karts and you are doing hands on driving it makes it a lot more fun,” said Coffinge.

The courses were held through the Purdue College of Technology located on the campus of IUSB. The South Bend campus is currently in a three-year trial run of this program.

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