A block of wood, four nails, and some plastic wheels. Throw in a monster sized, Hot Wheels type race track/ramp and you have the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby. Part craft, part toy, part science and a way for dads and their sons to join in a project to build the fastest, coolest model wood race car.
Unlike earlier generations of racers, there are tools like pre-cut cars, and YouTube videos to guide your project. Both of those came in handy this year for my son and I. I had poked just a bit too long, and we didn't have the tools or the time to do much construction. The pre-cut car allowed us to save time, and my son was thrilled to be racing the Batmobile. A YouTube video provided some extra information to help make the car faster.
It probably wouldn't be accurate to describe this as a science project, because in-depth science discussions never took place. My son is in 1st grade. We did talk a little about where we needed to put the weight in the car, and why. As these scouts get older, it does make a fun way to talk about physics and plant some seeds that science is cool.
When all the racing was done, the Batmobile came in 4th of 32 cars. I think it was a good first attempt.