SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Hess toy truck is one of the longest running holiday toy brands in America and now, it’s finding a new home in elementary schools.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, the age-old toy is a new teaching tool.
The iconic Hess toy truck has taken a turn toward high-tech. This year it comes with a downloadable STEM Curriculum that schools like Mount Pleasant Elementary in Smithtown are tapping into.
Justin Mayer, Hess toy truck’s general manager, visited fifth graders to demonstrate what kids can learn from a toy that dates back a half century. Its first ads debuted in the 1980s. Generations of little ones have reveled in its working parts, and now a new generation is learning that transportation has a lot to do with science, technology, engineering and math.
“‘The Hess truck’s back and it’s better than ever.’ We take that really as, not just a slogan, but that’s our mission, and STEM, being able to learn form it, is a big step forward for us over the last few years,” Mayer said.
The challenge was to race the Hess ATV through a handmade obstacle course.
The toy’s current New York Yankees theme is no accident. Hess partners with the MLB team and manager Aaron Boone was talking up a different kind of teamwork.
“Science and math, especially math, comes into play every day in my job with the Yankees and statistics, and it’s something we want to impart to these kids,” Boone said.
In the process, children playing with the truck may not even realize they’re learning.
When asked if there was any math involved, one student said, “I didn’t know you had to calculate, so I think there was math involved.”
“We learned about potential and kinetic energy and we learned about scale size,” another student said.
“The more potential energy you get, and that makes it go faster,” another student said.
There are no more Hess gas stations. They were bought out by Speedway several years ago, but the Hess truck still sells out online every year.
And it is now rolling into a classroom near you.
Here’s a little Hess trivia. The first toy truck sold in 1964 for $1.29. This year it costs nearly $34.