Pinewood Derby Instills Healthy Competition in Students

Morgan Demchak, Staff Writer

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The Pinewood Derby is a chance for students to express their creativity, test their knowledge, and have some healthy competition among one another. Mr. Barsody, an 11th grade physics teacher, runs the Derby every year. This is his fourth year doing it, and he began in 2014, his first year at the high school.

The competition is run in groups of two to three students, with each class having an average of 8-12 cars. Students begin by designing and building a car which may include drilling, adding weight, and painting. Students then compete in a double-elimination bracket within their class. After this bracket the winner from each class competes in the finals for the championship.

Aside from the actual speed of the car, the students get to vote on specific categories that include fastest looking, best design, and most unique. If a car wins in one of these categories, they acquire more points. There are also some categories that Mr. Barsody determines which include Barsody’s Choice and Best Engineered Design. In these categories, he is looking for the car that stands out the most and the team that puts its time and effort into it.

The Pinewood Derby is very educational and entertaining to the students as Mr. Barsody explains: “There are many purposes of the Pinewood Derby.  First, I believe that projects provide the best educational value to students—they have the opportunity to dream and to create, while applying and reinforcing their knowledge and understanding.  Second, there are numerous physics concepts—once the Pinewood Derby wraps up, we will still come back to it later in the school year as we learn new and relevant physics connections.  Third, for anyone that has been a Boy or Girl Scout, the Pinewood Derby brings back many fond memories and is a memorable learning and life experience.”

After the competition has wrapped up, the students do get a reward for winning. Specifically Mr. Barsody affirms, “A lot of time and effort is devoted to this project, and a healthy competition brings out the best in everybody.  Therefore, I offer the overall winning team of the double-elimination bracket a free pass on any quiz. For the car award categories, a homework pass is offered.”

The Pinewood Derby is an educational and enjoyable project that tests your knowledge and your creativity. Mr. Barsody is very grateful to be running this derby every year and is happy that his students participate and do the hard work for this project. To explain Mr. Barsody confirms, “Thank you for all your hard work.  I feel fortunate to work with the students here at CHS.  Each year the Pinewood Derby gets a little better than the year before.”

Barsody’s Choice: “Icing on the Cake”- Haley Owens and Abby Laborde

Best Engineered Design: “Fastest Spoon Alive”- Dylan Carfley, Skyler Bumbarger, and Joanna Switala

Most Unique: “Thot Batrol”- Eli Glass, Jordan Stockewell, and Herschel Johnson

“Chinese Takeout” – Laney Hudson, Chloe Brower, and Lauren Sattesahn

Fastest Looking: “Motorsport”- Ty Bender, Cameron Thomas, and Christian Stephens

Most Creative: “General Lee”– Austin Fontenoy and Stacey Houchins