Saturday, October 23, 2010
Rift Valley Academy held its annual pine wood derby race today. PWD has evolved tremendously from my childhood days of carving a block of pine with a pocket knife, a little red spray paint, and then attaching some nails and wheels on to a car with Elmer's glue. RVA 1) has to keep a lot of boarding kids busy and 2) has a lot of adult-kids with lots of time to imagine how we can keep the kids busy and 3) just plain likes to do everything bigger and better than ever imagined. So they have created what I call PWD on Steroids.
Students have spent weeks sanding, cutting, painting, adding lead weights to achieve the allowed weight (must be under 350 grams), truing and oiling wheels all to achieve the fastest or for some the most creatively designed car.
As you can tell this is no ordinary PWD track. It is the length of a basketball court and the height of a two story building. An olympic style electric timer releases 6 cars all at once as they race to the end of the track (video recorded for instant replay) in just under 5 seconds. Each of the 6 cars' times are recorded (4.567 seconds), ranked (1-6), and then rerun in multiple heats (to count for A-F track speed discrepancies).
Amelia created Duma (swahili for cheetah) because cheetahs are the fastest animal on the planet. Besides cutting with the jigsaw Amelia did all the design, gluing, and painting herself. As it is with rules she was racing against the men. Duma raced out of the first round but could not find his legs in the second round and was defeated by a drag racer.
Are any of your kids doing PWD these days?