Mousetrap Cars and Vehicles Teacher Resources

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This Site Specializes in products and information related to mousetrap powered cars, vehicles, and boats.

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Note: All activities are in Adobe Acrobat format. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view file. Click here to go to Adobe site for free download of Acrobat.

Challenge Ideas/Rules for Mouse Trap contest

Hand-out #1 - A good handout for students. Includes rules for two activities, a speed and distance contest. Has grading scale. Author unknown

Activities for Mouse Trap projects

1# Energy Activity - Written by Doc Fizzix. Lab #2 All Wound Up from his book. Find the starting energy, spring constant, and more!


For Instructors

This page was designed to give teachers a place to look up information related to mousetrap powered vehicles. This site is a reference source for all who enjoy building mouse trap projects. This site is dedicated to helping teachers and students with all mousetrap projects needs. Not only can you get a plethora of information from this site but you can also order parts, plans, tools, and books. Doc Fizzix has written a book exclusively for teachers related to mousetrap powered vehicles that is call Mouse Trap Cars: A Teacher's Guide. This book is a collection of seven lab activities that can be used to teach all of the concepts of a first semester kinematics physics course with the following concepts: Motion, Friction, Rotational Inertia, Energy, Power, and many many more.

Instructor's Kits - Books, kits and materials for all your.instructional needs

More Teachers Resource Information at Doc Fizzix

Experiments page - a list of variables that can be measured or graphed with mouse trap projects.
Rules Page - Check out the different rules for mouse trap powered project contests and challenges.
Records - Checkout current mouse trap car records and submit your entries.Pictures of top vehicles

What Data can be Measured, Calculated, or Graphed from Mousetrap powered vehicles?

Mousetrap Cars and Projects are excellent classroom activities for any grade level. If you are planing on working with mouse trap cars in your classroom then you will want an idea about the different activities that can be performed with a mouse trap car. The following growing list gives you a small idea about the different activities that can be taught with a mouse trap car. If you would would like all the equations and/or the activities to accompany this list please order the Mousetrap Teacher's Guide on the order page.

Calculations from mousetrap cars

* Total Rolling Friction
* Coefficient of Rolling Friction
* Total Potential Energy
* Maximum Total Kinetic Energy
* Work Done Moving Car
* Gear Ratios
* Mouse Trap Spring Constant
* Rotational Inertia of Wheels
* Pulling Distance and Gear Ratio
* Max Acceleration before Tire Slippage
* Predicted Total Travel Distance
* Efficiency with Distance Cars
* Efficiency with Speed Cars
* Center of Mass
* Normal force on Wheels
* Min String Tension Needed to Move
* Calculate Tire Grip on Floor

Graphing Ideas for mousetrap powered cars

* distance vs. time
* velocity
vs. time
* acceleration
vs. time
* pulling force
vs. degrees of spring angle
* potential energy
vs. time
* kinetic energy
vs. time
* work
vs. time
* string tension
vs. traveled distance
* lever arm length
vs. time
* lever arm length
vs. pulling distance

Mousetrap Cars and Projects Data Collection Ideas

In my classroom, I use a lot of computer probes with my students to collect data from the different mousetrap racers made by the students. I like the PASCO computer probe systems that hooks-up to my Mac. When I conduct mouse trap car speed contest I use two PASCO Laser Switches (ME-9259A) with two lasers for accurate timings. The Laser Switches are connected to a computer interface (Science Workshop 700 Interface). I also use the PASCO Force Sensor (CI-6537) hooked up to the 700 Interface for measuring the strength of the spring and the rolling friction. The PASCO 700 Interface comes with all the software needed to time, test, or conduct any possible experiment you can think of with you mouse trap car.

I have compiled a list of the different calculation that I do in the classroom with mouse trap car projects. This list is designed to give teachers some ideas about the large number of topics that can be covered by working with mouse trap powered vehicles and projects in the classroom. I can teach my the first semester with mouse trap cars alone. Formulas and derivations for all the listed calculation ideas are presented in
Mouse Trap Cars: A teachers Guide.

Ticker-Timer or Ticker Tap Activity

One of my favorite activities. Here,two students evaluate a ticker-tape after it was attached to their mouse trap car. The ticker timer will leave a series of marks on a tape that will help the students graph the motion of their mouse trap car. In my classroom, students will graph distance vs. time, speed vs. time, and acceleration vs. time all from the marks on their ticker tape. This is an extremely valuable way of analyzing and comparing data among classmates.

Torsion Wheel

A quick explanation of how it works

The disc has markings every 5 degrees. A string is attached to the bottom of the disc. The string is looped over the top of the disc running in a groove that was cut to hold the string in place. The looped end of the string is pulled down with a force probe or a spring scale. As the string is pulled with the spring scale the disc rotates. At every mark of the disc the student will record the pulling force. Because the force is always directed in the same direction the scale always stays "TRUE" and does not need to be zeroed at different positions. The sum of the total distance times the average force is equal to the starting energy.

Order the torsion wheel and get this activity

mouse trap project and lab activitie downloads

1# Energy Activity - As from the above activity Written by Doc Fizzix. Lab #2 All Wound Up from his book. This activity also comes with our "Torsion Wheel". Students measure the starting energy and the spring constant for their mouse trap's spring. Once you know the spring constant and starting energy students can make predictions about total travel distance, and calculate such variables as power, rolling friction, and efficiency. This activity takes students through the collection of data and the the formulas for each calculation. AN ESSENTIAL ACTIVITY!.

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