The Power Racing Series is taking place at several Maker Faires this summer, but most recently in Kansas City. It is a fun DIY competition, usually consisting of teams from a variety of hackerspaces. The power wheel cars are modified on a budget which cannot exceed $500. The undersized cars are usually as visually interesting as the oversized riders themselves. The rulebook is published as The Zen and Art of Power Wheel Racing (PDF).
The Power Racing Series was started by Jim Burke of Pumping Station One, which is a hackerspace in Chicago. On a recent visit to PSOne, I met Dan Meyer who shared this video of Jeremy Bloyd-Peshkin, a high school student, who worked on his own car for the KC event. In the video, Jeremy contrasts what he learns in school with what he’s learned from creating and racing his own car, remarking that the world doesn’t look like a multiple-choice test. He’s learned real-world problem-solving and he’s found something he really enjoys doing.
Building and modifying Power Wheel cars seems like a fun project that should happen in schools, not just outside it. Creating a makerspace in a school allows students to pursue hands-on projects like Power Wheel race cars so they can develop real-world skills and a greater understanding of their own technical and creative capabilities.
The next Power Racing Series event will take place at Maker Faire Detroit.