For this module the students will design and build mouse trap cars, test them and do calculations of speed, acceleration, and distance. Only the mousetrap provided can be used to power the cars, absolutely no other propulsion method should be used including rubber bands. Mousetraps are used to power the vehicles by attaching a string to the arm of the trap and then wound around the axel. Experimenting with size and length of all parts on the vehicle should be encouraged. There will be two measured competitions, speed and distance, and at the end there will also be a competition on the class’s favorite car judged by an anonymous vote. The vehicle must function correctly to win the unique competition. After the competitions, calculations will be made for speed, acceleration, and distance.
This module is broken up into four sections. Section 1 explains the principals of speed and acceleration and their effect on the distance the car will travel. After students have a basic understanding of these principals, project proposal for the mousetrap cars will be given. There will be a contest for speed and distance. Everyone will use a standard supplied mousetrap, nothing else including rubber bands, to power their car. A unique car will be designed and built from almost anything imaginable. Wood dowel for the axles will be supplied. Students will be encouraged to bring supplies from home. In Section 2, there will be time for construction and experimentation of the mousetrap cars. Documentation will be required of all ideas in their engineering journal. In Section 3, there will be time and distance trials and instruction on how to do calculations for the mousetrap cars. There will also be discussion on how they could make their cars go further and go faster. In Section 4, time should be allowed to make improvements and do non-competitive time trials, and finish up their documentation and written report.
The link below contains the projects supporting materials in pdf format.
This version of the mousetrap cars project was created by