Speed, acceleration, and force, oh my!

Ascension Episcopal School
In the 4th annual Box Car Derby, 6th grade students worked in math, science, art, history, and English class to complete their box cars built from household items. Keeping an eye on bragging rights, student pairs designed, made choices, and constructed what they thought would produce a derby-winning box car. 

Students adapted to enhance their box car to elicit better functionality and performance, even when that meant changing the wheels and axles multiple times after test runs. 
The box cars were put through three competitive runs in an attempt to claim the title of the best. Even as students made their way to their timed runs on race day, some were reconstructed at the last minute. 

While the box cars were successfully racing down ramps, students 
  • enhanced critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity
  • experienced a safe space to take risks
  • nurtured intrinsic motivation
  • fostered citizenship
Lauren Daly, 6th & 7th grade math teacher commented, “The student discussions on the follow up days were my favorite.  It was the most engaged attention I received from them all year... because it meant something to them! They had skin in the game and ownership of the conversation and discussion.”  One student expressed, “It was really fun building with trial and error and seeing your final product at the race.” Another said, “It was cool to see formulas from science class come to life!”

Although winners were announced in three categories (speed, force, and distance), Mrs. Daly concluded, “All were winners as their teamwork and engagement was top notch. They successfully created a mobile object from a still object, all while enjoying a fun day!” 

We can’t wait to see what next year’s 6th graders design and race in the annual Box Car Derby.

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When it comes to our children, one of the most important gifts we can provide for them is opportunity. It not only prepares them for their future but also gives them the independence to discover and define who they are: who they want to be. Our faculty and staff focus on developing the whole child, with a curriculum designed to teach lifelong learning skills.