A demolition derby doesn’t immediately seem like a very effective way to teach students about science, but that’s not the case for ninth grade Earth Science Mr. Jon Goodman.
Mr. Goodman’s class is currently learning about tectonic plates. Every year, Mr. Goodman holds a match box car demolition derby as a fun way for students to learn about tectonic plate boundaries. And it’s not always such a bad idea to throw a little healthy competition in the mix.
“By having fun, students are also learning about the characteristics of convergent boundaries,” said Mr. Goodman. “I see the difference. Before the derby, students have difficulty remembering rules that govern characteristics of convergent boundaries. After they derby, they seem to remember them much better. It reinforces what they learn while having fun.”
Each student chooses their matchbox car that they would like to compete in the demolition derby. Every player starts off with their car on the table, and take turns flicking their car into the arena to try and hit the other opponents.
The front and back bumper of the cars are lined with tape, one side is continent and the other is ocean. When the student gets their turn they must call their shot whether it will be a continent-continent, ocean-continent, or ocean-ocean.
If the player makes their shot they must name a characteristic of their collision if they can name a characteristic they may go again until they get it wrong, or miss their shot.
All four of the classes competed within their class and then the winner of each class competed against one another at ninth grade lunch to find an overall ninth grade winner.
The overall was Elayna McCaulley.