STEM + Spirit Week = Lower School Derby Day
STEM + Spirit Week = Lower School Derby Day

It has been a spirited week on campus- especially in the Lower School, where 437 student-made cars raced down the Derby speedway on Wednesday, November 7.

"I liked the race because it was fun watching everyone race down the ramp, and I used a design that worked for my brother last year," shared 3rd grader Lauren Notaro.

Throughout the fall, students have been learning about design, physics, and engineering for the All-Lower School build. "The objective of the Derby is to reinforce applying the Engineering Design Process, one of our main frameworks of thinking in our technology program," explained Lower School Technology Coach Christian Cloud. "The students also learn how to create and redesign an artifact that ultimately may fail. This allows the students to accept failure and allows them to build the grit to try again."


Students in Pre-kindergarten through 5th grade used recycled materials to build their cars.

"The wheels were made out of cork, the person who was driving was made out of cork," shared 2nd grader Sam Ryan. "There were a lot of pipe cleaners on the car too."

"I designed my car by taking a bottle and a bunch of pom poms," explained 2nd grader Mary Anderson. "I put the bottle on the chassis and glitter on the outside, and pom poms on the inside."

"It was truly a team effort," said Mr. Cloud. "The students studied axel assemblies in science class and then built the wheels, built the chassis in technology class, and then embellished their cars with a theme in their art classrooms."


"I wanted my car to not be too heavy and wanted to use materials I was sure I could use, so I used a water bottle and bottle caps, a simple car," said Yousef Gilani. "My favorite part of the car derby was when I watched all my friends."

This year's winners were 4th grader Marcus Tsai (First place), Kindergartner Jane Gibbs (2nd place). Second grade teacher Mrs. Betsy Welch, Hon. won in the teacher/grade category.

"I think it's amazing that we have incorporated STEM into our Spirit week festivities," said Mr. Cloud.

"I also liked watching the kids dance," said 2nd grader Bradley Dupont. "I am excited to race cars next year!"