Every winter, millions of families prepare for serious bonding time at kitchen tables, in garages and in workshops across the country. We enter with dreams of speed, beauty and glory. With a little luck and skill, we leave with pride, joy and a completed Pinewood Derby Car.
Here’s how to generate that little bit of luck and skill for your family so you too can guide your young maker with confidence.
Too Much Weight!
The Pinewood Derby is a race between small gravity-powered model cars. Each official Scouting kit contains a solid pine block, four nails and four plastic wheels but specialized kits are available online. Official rules vary from organization to organization, and in Scouting, district to district.
This guide will show you how to support and help your young maker design, make and race their derby car.
Continue reading “Home #Makerspace: Build a Pinewood Derby Car With #YoungMakers”
In my second period this semester, I’m moonlighting as a video producer. I don’t get to do any fancy music videos or full-feature movies, but I do get to make a documentary. We’ve got the backdrop ordered, the lights rigged up and a the interview stool picked out. I even have a low-slung directors chair that I talk to when its empty. I pretend my boss is sitting there. In the woodshop, I made this little rig to support my students. This is just a prototype. I’ll be working on a second rig which will find a permanent home in … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom (and the shop): Time Lapse Photography or Filming Rigs
Two projects really took off this summer – chalkboard slates and boomerangs. The boomerangs, of course, took off a little bit more. Back in the fall I built a bike barn. It’s more of a third-world shanty, but it housed the bikes and kept them sort of organized. Either way, I picked up a large number of cedar shingles as a roofing material. Time got away from me – I never roofed the barn. Instead, I used the shingles to create these cool little chalkboard slates. I used an exterior paint as primer, then covered them in green chalkboard paint. … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Boomerangs and Chalkboard Slates
Make: Projects has great instructions on how to build your own diddley bow. Make it safe & keep the rubber side down. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Diddley Bows
In my middle school/junior high class, we’ve been exploring the relationship between sails, force, momentum, foam boats and area. I’ve used the unit to assess the graphing labs we conducted last quarter and introduce non-linear graphs. I began the unit by asking students to research old sailing boats and draw conclusions from the material they gathered. The students completed a K-W-L chart. I then introduced the question: what is the most efficient sail? After some fits and starts (we have been doing some standardized testing practice to get ready for this week’s Stanford tests) we realized we needed to ask … Continue reading If I Had a Boat (Sailing Curriculum Unit)
This is my favorite project from this month’s STEM Fair. A student of mine decided to build CO2 Rocket cars. I loved building one of these in middle school. I distinctly remember my simple teardrop design coming in last and remarking – well, that’s unfair. I didn’t know I could do THAT! – when I saw the winners thin, stretchy, leggy thing. I looked like a duck next to a greyhound. Last time, my teacher bought a kit. This time, I chose a simple design for this piece – a pine wedge cut from a 2×4, 1/4 inch dowels as … Continue reading STEM Project: The CO2 Rocket Car
I’m knee deep in the STEM Fair. Some examples of work from my two or three classes of students. make it safe & keep the rubber side down. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: STEM Fair
Yesterday, we completed a physics demonstration: The adjustable see-saw. This seesaw has holes drilled into the balancing beam, allowing students/users to experiment with the capabilities of numerous levers. You just shift its position along the beam and viola! Instantly, a foolish grin hits your face as you try to balance anew.
More pictures after the jump…
Continue reading “Student-Built Seesaw (He see-d, he saw-ed, he fell down)”