Mousetrap Car – Day Three

Today's Lesson

Work on your cars today.

  • If you haven’t finished your design sketch you should do that.
  • When you finish your sketch:
    • If you have your materials you should start building your car.
    • If you don’t have your materials you should add color to your sketch if you haven’t already done that
    • If you’ve colorized your sketch but don’t have your materials you need to find something to from another class to work on that doesn’t cause you to be a distraction.
  • If you finish building your car, one group at a time can test their cars in the hallway.

Just so everyone is on the same page, here is a section from the instructions I left for the substitute:

We started a mousetrap car project on Monday. I gave all my classes the choice between watching a video today or working on their projects.  They all chose to work on their projects.  So there is no set in stone lesson plan. But for the most part they should be on task.  The kids are working in groups of 1, 2, or 3.  If they have their supplies here today then they can start building their cars.  If they don’t have their supplies here they may still be working on creating their design sheets. If they’ve finished their design sheet but don’t have their supplies then they need to find something else to work on but they should most definitely not be a distraction. They should be actively engaged.
Box title
Box content

Mousetrap Car Day 2

Mousetrap Modifications

Design Sketch

In order for your mousetrap car to be allowed in the competition you must complete a design sketch.

The design sketch needs the following components:

  1. Choose whether your sketch will be 2D or 3D
    1. If your sketch is 2D then it must show a top down view and a side view. A front view is not necessary UNLESS it is needed to show a specific design component
    2. If your sketch is 3D then the perspective needs to be such that it fully encompasses and shows all elements where potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy AND all moving pieces.
  2. Must have a materials list
  3. All components must be labeled and that labeling must match a material in your materials list.

Color is not mandatory but appreciated.

Here is a link to the Engineering Drawing and Sketching Design Handbook from MIT if you need inspiration.

Mousetrap Handout

Mousetraps will be handed out near the end of the hour. If you act the fool I will retrieve my mousetrap and you can buy your own.


There will be a substitute tomorrow in class. We need to decide what the assignment will be.


The following videos all show mousetrap cars being built from start to finish.  I am not endorsing any of these builds but they each show different ways to accomplish the same thing.

Video 1 – I don’t know how well this one would perform, but it would work.

Video 2 – The attention to detail in this one is great.

Video 3 – 2 Wheel design, I’m not sure about the way he aligned the two records.

Video 4 – This would make a solid mousetrap car.  However, I have the suspicion that MUCH distance would be lost due to the wheel choice.

Video 5 – The OH CRAP I FORGOT car