In-class challenges are contests where students test machines they have built with the rest of their class. There are chances to win extra credit and perhaps to set a school record. In both challenges students will build their machines outside of class and test them in class.
Our first challenge is for the student to design and build a small car that will carry a full 12 oz. can of soda pop and be powered by a single wooden mousetrap. I test the student’s traps for force so they know in advance how much power their “engine” has. Any standard wooden mousetrap will do, Victor is the most common brand name, but not the most powerful. The best I’ve seen are the Tomcat brand.
The car should whenever possible be made from scavenged items. It is not intended that a great deal of money should be spent on the project. I recommend old CD-ROM’s for wheels, cardboard or a thin piece of plywood for a body, and some ingenuity to put it all together. Please, NO MOUSETRAP CAR KITS ARE ALLOWED!!!! They will result in an automatic failure of the project. Believe me, in nine years of mousetrap car races, I’ve seen and I know every commercially made car kit. They’re just not worth the money anyway.
Your car must go 1 meter (carrying the can of pop) to achieve a passing grade. I wont tell you exactly how far you’ll need to go for an “A” (If I did you’d stop trying if your car went that far.) but it’s safe to say somewhere in the 13 to 16 foot range. Good luck!
By the way, the school record is 29.34 meters, set by Aaron Morgan in 2003.
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