Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mousetrap Cars teach students mechanical advantage

The final project of the semester in Introduction to Engineering asked groups of students to create a car, powered by a mousetrap, that would travel the farthest distance. Groups were given a kit of parts and asked to brainstorm ways to build a car using only these materials. After students discussed and drew out their ideas, they began the build using the both hand and power tools. Students learned to safely cut wheels out of MDF with the band saw and sand with the belt sander. When each group finished their first car, they did three test runs to see whose went the farthest. We then examined the winning car and noticed what made it different from some of the other less successful designs. Students were able to understand the variables involved in the designs and the concept of mechanical advantage. Finally, students were allowed to rebuild their car with this new knowledge and retest it.

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