Mousetrap Car

Project Snapshot

The mousetrap car project is a classic physics challenge: Build a vehicle that can travel as far as possible by using only the energy from a single mousetrap.

 

Seems simple enough, but the reason it's so popular is because it's rich in science concepts, applied math, and design possibilities.

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Tools and Materials

The Engineering Creation Kit has everything you need for this project and many more from STEM Inventions (except the mousetrap), or get the supplies in bulk:

Full Video

In progress

Tips and Troubleshooting

If the car isn't moving at all, then...

  • The wheels may be pressed too tightly against the straw. Make sure the wheels can spin freely.

  • Check for excessive friction, such as hot glue inside the straws, the wheels rubbing against something, etc.

  • The mousetrap car might be too big.

If the car isn't rolling in a straight line, then...

  • The wheels aren’t aligned. Remove and reattach the wheels to make the axels parallel with each other.

  • Make sure to wind up and release the car so the drive wheels are in front.

If the car isn't coasting very far, then...

  • Again, look for excessive friction.

  • The car is too heavy. Try making it smaller or removing excessive material.

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