I’ve never seen the students sit for so long and be fully engaged in the moment. Time after time predictions were made, explanations provided for their thinking and races held. Again and again the 3….2….1….go countdown rung out through our learning space as cars were tested, curious questions discussed and then different scenarios tested again.

Before we knew it an hour had passed and many great discussions had begun. Children brought up ideas about friction, weight placement, wheel sizes, length of car, force and size of car. Ideas about different materials they could collect to try out were a hot topic for discussion. Their enthusiasm kept growing and it was no problem to get everyone using our Hapara space to find out more about how cars work and what they need. There was a pleasant hum of brains buzzing and discussions about cars and designs throughout the shared space.

There was not one student who didn’t want to take part and get in on the design thinking process. Yes it took time to set up, Yes it took time to build, Yes it took time to make the design brief but was it worth it? YES! If you are looking to try a STEM project I would highly recommend delving into the Nerdy Derby.

Where to next?

Our students are busy brainstorming their initial ideas and sketching their first cars. Teamwork and cooperation is evident already and the discussions and negotiating are fantastic to see. We are hopeful that there will be building of cars happening before the week is out. The aim is to focus some groups with common thoughts on wanting to know more about force, friction, gears or axles and workshop concepts with them to deepen their understanding of these areas. It will be an opt in style workshop with children able to follow their interests at different paces. If we can get our students to test, re evaluate, make even better if statements and redesign and test again then our mission will be accomplished.



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