Makerspace: 3rd Grade Students Build Mousetrap Cars to Understand Force and Motion

May 14, 2015

Mousetrap Cars10Mrs. Coulter’s third grade class is learning about force and motion in science.  In the new makerspace, students built cars powered by mousetraps to understand how unbalanced forces result in motion.  They used a variety of materials, including large wire guides donated to our makerspace by Greensea in Richmond, as well as coat hangers, bamboo skewers and recyclables provided by families.

Following the engineering design cycle, students designed, built, tested and improved their mousetrap cars.  Many final designs were able to tie or exceed the 80 inch record set by my example car.  We discovered the most important force to make our cars go the farthest was friction!  Rubber on the wheels and wax on the string allowed all the force in the mousetrap to be converted into the motion of the car.  To conclude the lesson, we will be sharing our cars with our Kindergarten reading buddies.

Tricia Finkle
Makerspace Instructor

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