Adventure Update # 041: The Renaissance!

We have been experiencing a little bit of a Renaissance here at the Williamson household! The arts are flourishing and we are building Da Vinci machines (the Archimedes Screw)!


We have been experiencing a little bit of a Renaissance here at the Williamson household!  The arts are flourishing and we are building Da Vinci machines (the Archimedes Screw)!

Lately, all of the older kids have been really interested in the piano & music!  I don’t know what has caused it – but we like it!  They have labeled all the keys on the piano and are composing their own songs.  They are even FIGHTING over the piano!

Pinewood Derby

Dominick had the pinewood derby this weekend.  We tried something different this year.  In previous years we have run very wedge-like cars.  This year, Dominick thought it would be cool if we made the car look like a Tesla Cyber truck – so we did it!

Dominick with Tesla Cyber Truck pinewood derby.

We got the general shape with just a few cuts – but had to do a lot of work hollowing out the shape to be able to use our normal ballast – which is 3 platinum coins stacked on top of each other and wrapped in cling wrap.  The total the weight of the car can be no more than 5 oz – or 141.7 grams.  The coins weigh a total of 95 grams – so the rest of the car can only weigh 46 grams.  The wheels and axles weigh in at about 12 – so that leaves us around 34 grams for the entire piece of wood to weigh. 

We basically had to hollow out the entire body of the truck and turn it into a shell.  As usual – we were scrambling to get the car done on Sunday morning.  We were supposed to be at the weigh-in at 11:30 am – but we were still home trying to get the axle in what had become a very delicate frame and body.  We accidentally split the wood at one of the axle holes and had to glue it.  If you asked me at 11:40 if we were even going to make it to the race – I would have said no!

Underside of Tesla Cyber Truck Pinewood Derby

But we got there and weighed in.  Yup – .01 oz over the weight limit they told us.  So we took off some decorations and a little tape off the platinum.  Finally we came in at 4.97 oz. Honestly – I think more of the issue was that the car wasn’t centered on the scale during the weigh-in- and we were probably right on the mark from the get-go.

So the car was deceptively heavy at the back.  It was a rather large body (albeit – hollow) – and it was funny to see people try to handle it.

This was the first year that we confessed to having platinum in the car – because the fathers at the weigh-in table noticed the coins with the decorations removed.  Why did we use the platinum coins? -because they have a lower moment of inertia than anything else we could find! Look it up! Perfectly within the rules – just the most expensive car / truck at the derby!

The damaged wood at the one axle managed to stay together – and Dominick’s car came in 3rd overall!  Not bad for such a crazy scramble and no testing or tweaking!  He was 4/100ths off first and 6/1,000th off second.

We say every year that NEXT year we are going to start earlier…..but we never do!

Science Fair – Archimedes Screw

Gracie is still working on the Archimedes screw with her friend for the science fair.  I have been very impressed with both of them!  Sure – they need a little guidance with the tools sometimes – but they are really doing a great job of constructing this 6 1/2 foot screw to transport water uphill!  Another couple of obstacles to overcome – and I think they will have a working model! Hopefully they will do well competing against the older 6th graders!


The little one is ever a hoot to have around!  Lately she has been saying things like “You betcha'” and “Keep your eyes on the prize!”.  She got the “You Betcha'” from a robot ball she got from Gramma for Christmas and, best we can tell, the “Keep your eyes on the prize” from Annie.

When I ask Sophie a question and she answers “yeah” – I tell her we don’t say that in this house. Ok – we do sometimes – but right now she is saying yes – with a “th” sound on the end and I love it! So I ask her my question again and she answers me with a “yesth”! The small pleasures in life and parenthood…

It’s Catholic schools week this week – and just this morning Gracie did a great job reading the morning prayers in front of the whole school in the gymnasium.  She could be a great newscaster someday!


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Blessed father of 4 wonderful children & trophy husband to 1 lovely wife. Part-time blogger, full-time nerd & aspiring Renaissance man!

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