VIDEO: Orchard Teachers Gear Up for Derby Through Makerspace Immersion

Earlier this week, seventh-grade teachers took over the Orchard Makerspace to drive derby learning by getting a true pit crew experience!

The Orchard Derby is a middle school math project where teachers leverage a plethora of academic skills for students to construct a massive pinewood derby track. The culminating event is a competition where teachers and students compete against each other with their custom made derby cars.

Artistic creativity, mathematics, and teamwork are the driving forces behind this project. The hands-on nature of this project mixed with real-world concepts keeps students busy throughout the entire process.

Photos from the 2018 Orchard Derby. A photo album from the seventh-grade teachers is at the bottom of this article. 

When the Orchard Derby was a sixth-grade project, Emma Laborsky '20 directed and edited a video highlighting the experience from start to finish.

"I remember students would gather around and solve the questions together," Emma recalls. "It was more engaging when the equations had actual meaning that would contribute to the track being built."

However, before students dive into any major project, teachers will take a day of preparation in order to learn how to use several tools, understand the logistics of the workshop, etc. Having a dedicated time to collaborate for brainstorming, prototyping, and troubleshooting helps to make for a smooth project with students. It's also a great way for faculty to work collaboratively and model what it means to be joyful lifelong learners.


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