500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program

presented by Indiana University Health


The Education Program

free for all Indiana 4th-grade classrooms

Combine Indiana fourth-grade learning with meaningful fun! The 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, is a free program for Indiana fourth-grade classrooms that immerses students in the world of the Indianapolis 500 and 500 Festival!

The Education Program equips fourth-grade educators with engaging lesson plans and classroom materials that allow students to explore the significant role of the 500 Festival and the Indianapolis 500 in Indiana’s state history and culture.

Registered classrooms receive student materials, lesson plans, educational video series, supporting materials, and opportunities for students to participate in an essay contest and a classroom decorating contest! The Education Program’s curriculum is based on Indiana Academic Standards for language arts, health, math, science, social studies, visual arts, and physical education.

Register today!

The 2024 Education Program takes place during the spring semester of the 2023-2024 school year and is open to all Indiana fourth-grade classrooms! Are you ready to register your fourth-grade classrooms? Please fill out the form using the button below.

Register for the 2024 program

Bringing classroom lessons to life!

Within the program, classrooms have the opportunity to experience a Study Trip or a Mobile Trip to bring the classroom lessons to life! Study Trips and Mobile Trips are optional to participate in, but schools must be registered for the 2024 Education Program to participate in either type of trip. It is completely free to the classroom to partake in a Study or Mobile Trip and the 500 Festival will provide stipends to offset transportation costs.

The Study Trip: Participating fourth-grade classrooms have the opportunity to attend a Study Trip that takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April! During the visit, students will put classroom lessons into action at interactive, hands-on educational stations located around the track.

The Mobile Trip: Participating fourth-grade classrooms also have the opportunity to participate in a Mobile Trip during March that is held at their school. At a Mobile Trip, the 500 Festival brings the fun and pageantry of a field trip to the track to the fourth-grade students. including interactive stations led by 500 Festival staff and volunteers, racing equipment, and an actual IndyCar all provided by the 500 Festival!

Due to demand, these trips are assigned through a lottery system.

the Curriculum

The 500 Festival Education Program’s curriculum, Gearing Up for the Indy 500, is an Indiana Academic Standards-based curriculum designed for fourth-grade students to foster an understanding and develop an appreciation of the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500. Gearing Up for the Indy 500 is updated annually. The lessons may be taught in sequence (as presented in the guide), or teachers may choose to change the order of the lessons based on the needs of their students and classroom schedules. Some lessons may be modified or extended based on the students’ needs. It also includes an authentic assessment for students to showcase their understanding of the Indianapolis 500 and the 500 Festival.

be a part of the experience

Since the program’s inception in 2004, these lessons have impacted more than 422,000 students in more than 17,000 classrooms throughout the state of Indiana. 

“It was a worthwhile program. As we study Indiana history in 4th grade, we try to instill in our students pride in their state. Learning about (and visiting) IMS helps develop that pride.” Jane Cumberworth, Rushville Elementary

“Outstanding educational program. Study Trip volunteers were courteous & informative. The track atmosphere was so exciting! Students absolutely loved it.” Paula Jones, MSD Shakamak