Fueled by the sheer force of gravity, school pride and a competitive spirit, young races maneuvered their soapbox derby-style cars down a long slope on Church Street in downtown Douglasville Saturday morning for the fourth annual Georgia Gravity Games.
The event, which attracted over 55 student-led teams this year, has steadily grown to the largest in its four-year history.
Brighten Academy dominated the day, sweeping three of the four categories — in stock, super stock and engineered.
The winner of the stock class was Brighten Academy, with Dorsett Shoals Elementary taking second place.
In the super stock class, again Brighten Academy placed first, and Paulding County’s Shelton Elementary came in second.
In the Scottie stock class, Lithia Springs High School STEM Academy took first place honors, with Chapel Hill High School taking second place.
In the engineered class, Brighten Academy took first place and Team Google took second place in the division.
The gravity-only, single-eliminate car race is as an educational, hands-on activity designed to get young people excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, more often referred to as STEM.
The Georgia Gravity Games is hosted each year by Google, Georgia Tech and the city of Douglasville. The purpose of the racing competition is to encourage both male and female students to use STEM methods to build and then race their own gravity-powered cars.
“Gravity Games provides hundreds of students in Georgia the opportunity to apply science, technology, engineering and math skills they learn in the classroom in a real-life, hands-on way,” Russell Bonds, Google’s Douglas County data facilities manager said. “We look forward to watching this event grow year after year and value our partnership with Georgia Tech and the city of Douglasville as together we introduce more and more of Georgia’s students to STEM subjects and programs.”
This year’s spectators remembered the contrast between last year’s frigid October temperatures to Saturday’s seasonally warm early November day, where coats, blankets and gloves were traded for short sleeves.
The competition consisted of four divisions: stock (up to 200 pounds) super stock (up to 240 pounds), Scottie stock (up to 255 pounds) and engineered.
For the second year, the Georgia Gravity Games included a new award category for educational videos, where teams were encouraged to create and submit a video, explaining what they learned while building their cars and how they incorporated STEM skills.
This year’s Georgia Gravity Games also featured Science Street, an exhibit featuring hands-on activities and presentations from area organizations, including the University of Georgia’s Center for Applied Isotope Studies, the Atlanta Science Festival, Georgia Tech Research Institute and West Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center.