NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ982389
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Modeling the Mousetrap Car
Jumper, William D.
Physics Teacher, v50 n3 p137-142 Mar 2012
Many high school and introductory college physics courses make use of mousetrap car projects and competitions as a way of providing an engaging hands-on learning experience incorporating Newton's laws, conversion of potential to kinetic energy, dissipative forces, and rotational mechanics. Presented here is a simple analytical and finite element spreadsheet model for a typical mousetrap car, as shown in Fig. 1. It is hoped that the model will provide students with a tool for designing or modifying the designs of their cars, provide instructors with a means to insure students close the loop between physical principles and an understanding of their car's speed and distance performance, and, third, stimulate in students at an early stage an appreciation for the merits of computer modeling as an aid in understanding and tackling otherwise analytically intractable problems so common in today's professional world. (Contains 11 figures.)
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A