Intro and Pinewood Program
Dennis Parker (dcp@IRONWOOD.CRAY.COM)
Thu, 9 Feb 1995 14:46:22 -0600
I've lurked here in Scouts-l for a couple of weeks and it time to post.
I've been den leader since my son signed up as a Tiger. He'll graduate from
Cubs a year from now and then it's off to Scouts.
I've posted the following message on rec.scouting several times and I offer
it here for your enjoyment. I'm trying to stamp out elimination races in
Pinewood Derbies and the like.
If anyone is or can be in contact with Pack 15 of Saratoga Springs, NY or Pack
37 of Niskayuna, NY, I'd appreciate some help communicating with them. I'd
like to thank them for the program and get some information about it.
The Stearns method of running Pinewood Derbies and other races was originally
developed by Pack 15 of Saratoga Springs, NY. Instead of double or triple
elimination, the Stearns method uses a round robin structure. The event is
divided into a series of rounds. Each car races once per round. The lane
assignments and matching of opponents is varied from round to round so that
by the end, each car has raced in a variety of lanes against a variety of
opponents. In order to determine the winner, you keep track of the number
of first place finishes each car earns. The overall winner is the car with
the most first place finishes. A run-off is used to break ties.
There's a program that runs on an IBM PC that does the hard part. You provide
the program with the number of cars, number of lanes, and number of rounds
you want to run. It generates a complete race schedule listing what cars
run in what races in what lanes. All you have to do is put the right
cars on the right lanes and start counting.
There are several advantages to the Stearns method. Each boy gets to race
his car several times. We run about 8 to 12 rounds per event, so that's
8 to 12 races for each boy instead of two or three most boys get in an
elimination race. Since each boy is involved throughout the event, they
don't lose interest and you don't have as many behaviour problems with bored
kids wandering around. About 2/3 to 3/4 of the boys will win at least one
race so they can go home winners. In a 10 round event, the overall winner
will probably get 8 or 9 first place finishes.
The Stearns method also provides a quick race. Our pack runs a
highly organized Derby. We average faster than a race a minute, which also
helps to keep the boys interested - there's always action. Last year, we ran
three separate events - 10 Tigers, 40 Cubs, and 20 adults - with a total of
over 250 races in 2 1/2 hours.
If you're interested in the Stearns method, let me know and I can mail the
documentation and the executable program in uuencoded form. You'll have to
uudecode the program and move it to a PC to execute it.
Dennis Parker Den 7 Webelos Den Leader Indianhead Council
firstname.lastname@example.org Pack 229 Apple Valley, MN
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City