The objective of this project is to teach students basic concepts regarding energy (kinetic and potential), acceleration, velocity, friction and vectors. The project will require instruction on some basic principles of physics. In addition it will teach them how to perform a scientific experiment and how to measure and record the resultant data.
For the experiment students will be broken up into teams of two (2). Each team will be given the materials needed to build an adjustable ramp that is 18 inches long. The students will have access to a measuring device and a computer. The students will supply one Hot Wheels® car of their choosing. The object of the project is to determine how far the car will roll out after reaching the bottom of the ramp. All cars will start with their rear end at the farthest point back on the ramp, and the roll out will be measured from the bottom of the ramp to the back end of the car. The students will gather data about the ramp triangle and the roll out distances for various chosen ramp angles and a series of trial runs. A minimum of five (5) trial runs and a minimum for five (5) ramp angles will be required. The students will record their data in a computer spreadsheet of their design, and will analyze this data using formulas that they will write for the spread sheet.
A competition will be held on the final day of the project. The instructor will name a specific roll out distance and each team will have one try, using the calculations from there spread sheet, to reach the given distance. The team that comes closest to the distance will receive an award. This competition can be altered to more than one distance trial and the team with the lowest average is determined to be the winner
This version of the mousetrap cars project was created by