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Randolph College Physics Students Explore Science of Pinewood Derby Car Racing with Local Cub Scouts

Hands-on workshop for Pack 48 will give scouts a leg up on this year's derby race, and teach physics at the same time

11/19/2009 10:31:02 AM


LYNCHBURG — Randolph College physics students will share their love of science — and pinewood derby car racing — with area cub scouts Saturday. The students and Peter Sheldon, Randolph’s physics professor, will conduct a hands-on workshop for Pack 48 at Timberlake United Methodist Church from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for our cub scouts to learn the physics behind pinewood derby car racing,” said Michael Glover, one of Pack 48’s leaders. “The race is one of the highlights of the year for our scouts, and this workshop will help them learn the science behind it.”

Sheldon and his students will teach the cub scouts about the whys behind the pinewood derby car races using physics principles. The Randolph College group will lead the scouts in small group experiments to build cars of different weights and shapes. Then they’ll test them on the race track to see what makes the faster car.

“For the scouts, the derby car races are just fun,” Sheldon said. “We can use that interest to teach them about the science behind it, and hopefully spark an interest in science at the same time.”

Sheldon said the Randolph College students also benefit from the opportunity to work with children. “Being able to share with the community is a win-win for everyone. Our students get just as much out of it as the kids do.”

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations