George Lucas Educational Foundation

Bringing Math and Physics to Life With a Model Car Derby

Giving students a design challenge—and a compelling reason to delve into complex engineering—makes them more engaged, motivated, and committed to deepening their own understanding.

October 11, 2023

Every year at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine, teachers stage a model car race as the culminating event for an integrated math and physics project that helps students connect to content in a hands-on way. Teams of students design, test, and tinker with several car designs before the big day in an attempt to build the fastest—and the slowest—model cars. And on race day, an atmosphere of competition and celebration builds excitement for their demonstrations of learning. Only one team wins, but everyone walks away with a better grasp on higher-level STEM concepts.

To learn more about the research behind the practices seen in the video, check out the links below.

Casco Bay High School

Public, Suburban
Grades 9 - 12
Portland, ME

Edutopia developed the Making Learning More Playful series with support from The LEGO Foundation.

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Filed Under

  • Integrated Studies
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • STEM
  • Math
  • Science
  • 9-12 High School
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