This project might appear so simple but I see many students struggle with it, using improper materials or sloppy workmanship will not give good results. Recording data on motion I believe is much easier with a model that moves slowly in two-dimensional space compared to flying projects like model rockets or airplanes.
|The Spring from the Mousetrap Powers the Car|
|My Mousetrap Car Design has been Built Around the World|
In my progression of designing and teaching with mousetrap cars I have tried several ideas and materials but the objective has been to simplify the design while fixing any problem areas. My first couple of mousetrap cars were built from bamboo skewers which worked well but I felt this was too much structure for the students to build. The next mousetrap cars were built from balsa structure which worked well but I thought a foam chassis would be cheaper and a little less work. It seems that when projects have too many pieces the difference between the students that are faster in the construction and the slower builders gets greater.
For my next class with the mousetrap cars I plan to introduce the connection with Newton's Laws of Motion and the mousetrap cars. It would also be a good opportunity to introduce simple machines and the concept of mechanical advantage.
The Evolution of My Mousetrap Car Design
Thank you to all those that have viewed my blog, no doubt by the end of the day it will be 30,000 views in less than a year. This inspires me to keep on writing.