Introduction: SLO Maker Academy Pinewood Derby Curriculum

About: SLO MakerSpace offers tools, training, and consultation services that enable community members to experiment with and master a wide variety of Maker skills. We are dedicated to the following values: Commun…

SLO Maker Academy Curriculum is an open-source, collaborative effort to bring STEAM-style education to anyone. We offer these facilitated activities at SLO MakerSpace, and are publishing many to instructables for teachers and parents to do at home! These are basic outlines to get you started, but the general philosophy is to let the child explore, test, fail, and improve.

- Pinewood Derby Track

- Computer for speed tracking

- Speed tracker program

- Pinewood blanks

- Band saw

- Hammers

- Drills/bits

- Glue gun/ glue

- Craft materials/paint/e-waste/etc for decoration

Step 1: Teaching Method Outline


  1. General discussion of wheels, rolling resistance, friction, gravity, etc.
  2. Demonstrate Derby track!
  3. Participants sketch plans for cars and trace on blocks
  4. Facilitators cut out shapes on band saw
    1. Selected participants can cut on own or supervised after proper training.
  5. Walk around while kids are working and assist.
  6. Race!
  7. Race Round 2+!
    1. Modify for speed, add resistance, lubricate wheels, etc.
  8. Record notes on differences
  9. Discuss