Pinewood DerbyChildren's own creativity
The Pinewood Derby is an annual event of the Cub Scouts (the young-age division of the Boy Scouts of America). It is the most popular event for many scouts. The scout is given a block of wood made of pine with two notches for wheels, four plastic wheels and four nails. The finished car must use all nine pieces, must not exceed a certain weight (usually five ounces), must not exceed a certain length and must fit on the track used by that particular scout pack.
Meaning of Pinewood Derby
The parent, occasionally the mother or grandparent often spends substantial time "helping" the child design, carve, paint, add weights, and tune the final car. The activity can gather children and their parents and improve their emotional communications. Judging often goes to the best looking car, but sometimes is awarded to a car that looks like it was assembled by an elementary school child. Other than the previous basic design rules, the scout is able to carve and decorate the car as he chooses. Many scouts also add weights to the final design to bring the car to the maximum allowable weight. The fastest cars tend to resemble low doorstops, with weight at the rear.
How Pinewood Derby Cars Work
Pinewood derby cars are gravity-powered vehicles. They start the race on a sloped track held back by starting pins. When the pins drop, the cars roll down the sloped track towards the finish line, guided by rails. Most tracks are built with a transition from the sloped starting section to a long flat section. On these tracks, cars must complete the flat section while maintaining as much speed as possible.
The only force that can be used to make the car move is gravity. Fortunately, there are things you can do to get the most from this constant force.