Students Race for Gold at the Virtual JetToy Competition Supported by Kia Georgia

At the end of every year, children excitedly anticipate school breaks, snow days and holiday traditions, but added to that list for nearly 500 elementary students this December was SAE International’s Virtual JetToy Competition.

Sponsored by Kia Georgia, the signature culminating activity of SAE’s A World In Motion® (AWIM®) program brought together students from 17 schools in Georgia, Alabama and this year, an ENCU affiliated bilingual school in China. Students, supported by teachers and volunteers, squared off in the friendly competition with balloon-powered toy cars that met specific performance criteria on distance, accuracy and creativity.

“The SAE Foundation is proud to offer this opportunity to the students even in the face of the current challenges in our learning environments,” said Lori Gatmaitan, the executive director of the SAE Foundation. “We’re grateful for the generous investment from Kia Georgia in the AWIM program to inspire and educate more students through hands-on experiences like the Virtual JetToy Competition.”

The competition gave students hands-on experience with core scientific concepts they learned in the classroom through SAE International’s award-winning AWIM curriculum including jet propulsion, friction, air resistance and design to help them build an optimal racer.

In addition to important STEM concepts, the event gave students the ability to develop another set of skills. Members of the team at Callaway Elementary School created a social contract to guide their behavior during meetings, emphasizing the importance of listening to one another and being respectful. Helping students develop essential 21st Century workforce skills like communication, collaboration and problem solving is an integral part of the AWIM learning experience.

“Today’s students are learning skills that will help prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow,” said Stuart Countess, president and chief executive officer of Kia Georgia. “Our goal is to provide these students the tools they need to be successful in school and beyond.”

Over the last seven years, Kia Georgia team members gave their time to serve as track judges at the in-person competitions and volunteered in the classroom prior to and following the event. The AWIM programming combined with industry knowledge from these volunteers provides students across four counties (Harris, Meriwether and Troup in Georgia, and Chambers in Alabama) invaluable knowledge they can use to build future careers.


Want to support great STEM learning opportunities like the JetToy Competition or get involved in other important educational initiatives with SAE? Learn more about the work we’re doing to increase accessibility and how you or your company can get involved:

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