2014 NC Gravity Games FAQ
Use Gravity to Elevate Your Students to Victory
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is crucial to preparing North Carolina students to lead in the next generation of innovators. Today’s students will drive tomorrow’s economy. In order to do that, we need to make sure that we continue to show students that science can be fun. That’s why Google, working with co-sponsors at ASU, invests in STEM initiatives like the annual North Carolina Gravity Games.
What are the NC Gravity Games?
The NC Gravity Games soapbox race competition sponsored by Google and Appalachian State University (ASU). The NC Gravity Games are an educational, hands-on activity designed to get young people excited about science. The NC Gravity Games are a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival, a multi-day celebration highlighting the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in our state.
Who participates in the NC Gravity Games?
The NC Gravity Games are always looking for the best, brightest and speediest engineering minds in the state. More than 30 teams of middle and high school students have participated in past events. Adults can also participate in the “open” race category.
How can I help support the NC Gravity Games?
Encourage students in your class to compete in the 2014 NC Gravity Games. ASU professors have developed a curriculum that can support STEM lesson plans. Find it and other helpful resources at www.ncgravitygames.com.
This exciting event is a way students can take the concepts they learn inside the classroom and apply them in a fun way. What other advanced engineering challenge involves zooming at top speeds through downtown streets?
What are the categories?
We’re offering two divisions – Kits Only and Engineered – for students to put their minds to the test.
Is lubrication allowed?
Many teams have asked about the use of lubrication for wheels and axles. Since we consider this to be a component of "engineering" to make the cars as fast as possible, lubrication of wheels, axles, etc is permitted, but you may be asked to provide data on the lubricants used, and you must not leave residue on the starting ramp or race course.
When and where will the 2014 Gravity Games be hosted?
The 2014 NC Gravity Games will be held on April 5, 2014 in downtown Lenoir.
What is the registration deadline?
Teams are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Registration ends on March 22, 2014.
How many students are allowed on each team?
Five students, including the driver, and one teacher or advisor can be registered for a team and only five students will be awarded prizes. However, teams may add additional “honorary members” as they see fit.
How does Google support STEM education?
Google supports a number of STEM initiatives in North Carolina. In addition to the NC Gravity Games, Google sponsored Caldwell County School’s first robotics teams and funded the Caldwell County School system’s first “Lending Laptop” program, which provided 150 computers for classroom use. For more information about Google’s programs for schools and teachers, please visit http//www.google.com/edu/.
April 5 - Day-of FAQ
Where should the competitors and their cars arrive?
When you arrive in downtown Lenoir on Main St., a volunteer will let you go through the barricades and drop off your car, students and any other items that you may need. Your car must be parked in the public lot by Anything Office.
What time should competitors arrive?
Competitors start to arrive by 7 a.m.
What time is registration? Where will registration be held?
Team/car registration starts at 8:30 a.m. There will be a white tent marked ‘registration’ on Ashe Ave.
Where should I park?
Participants can park near Anything Office, in the public lot on the corner of Ashe and Main. Supporters and event spectators can park in downtown Lenoir, keeping in mind the parking rules in downtown.
What should I expect when I get to the event site on Ashe Ave.?
Once you get to Ashe Ave., you’ll see tents and volunteers. Volunteers will have on black T-shirts marked ‘staff.’ At registration, participants will receive a free T-shirt, while supplies last.
What occurs during the car safety inspection?
The team from ASU will conduct the safety inspection. This is comprised of a visual and physical inspection of the car. For the physical inspection of the car, the driver must get in the car and travel along a short-course. ASU is making sure that the car is both within the proper weight guidelines (both with and without the driver) and that the car can stop when pressure is applied to the brakes. The car must stop BEFORE hitting the hay bale that is located on the short course.
Can I drop off my students/kids and their car unsupervised?
We strongly recommend that you, as an adult supervisor or family member, stay at the event with your students/competitors.
Whom should I call or email with any last-minute needs or concerns?
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 828-355-5046
Where is the course?
The race is in downtown Lenoir, NC, running West to East on Ashe Ave. Please see the map, found here.
What are the prizes?
That’s a surprise. Just note that bragging rights, awards and medals will be distributed and some cool stuff from ASU and Google.
If my vehicle does not pass inspection, can I repair and have it re-inspected at the site?
Yes, but your time may be limited. Your assigned heat will run without your vehicle if the second inspection is not completed in time. Plan to bring tools to to the race to make any necessary changes.
Can I adjust my vehicle weight at the inspection weigh-in?
It is suggested that fine tuning of the weight be done very quickly. Removable weights need to be loosely fastened during weigh-in and added or removed during that process to reach the ideal weight. The weights must be securely fastened within 1 minute of weigh in to complete the live brake test.