Back in college, I was given a large block of balsa wood as a birthday present. I couldn't decide what to carve out out it, so I made a little sign that said "Potential" and set it on my desk where I could see it. I think the reminder did more for getting me through my classes than anything I could have made out of it.
In a Pine Car Derby, everyone gets either a wedge or a block of pine. You have to use it in your car; you can't substitute another piece of wood. You can add to it, you can subtract from it, but you have to use the block that came in your kit.
I put a fair amount of effort and creativity into Fiona's car, so it was a real treat to get to race day. A big part of the fun is getting to see what everyone else came up with. Given that everyone starts with virtually the same block of wood, the creativity is amazing.
Next up: Let's Go Racing!