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Mechanical Engineering: Mousetrap Vehicles

Mechanical Engineering: Mousetrap Vehicles

Students explore simple machines and Newton’s Laws of Motion. Students design, build, and test mousetrap vehicles with various design specifications. Students then design and build a mousetrap vehicle to meet specific goals and criteria. Equipment includes tubing cutters, spring scales, simple machine demonstrators, and materials to build mouse trap vehicles.

Lesson 1: Intro to Mechanical Engineering

Students explore the history of mechanical engineering and science concepts related to mechanical engineering. Students complete worksheets related to the material in the lesson. Students write reports over the history of mechanical engineering, the science of mechanical engineering, and careers related to mechanical engineering. The teacher selects which and how many reports the students will write.

Lesson 2: Simple Machines and Gears

Students explore the six simple machines and the concept of mechanical advantage. Students make and test examples of simple machines. Students also explore gears and gear ratios. Students construct gear combinations to increase and decrease speed and to change direction of spin.

Lesson 3: Mouse Trap Vehicle Construction and Testing

Students construct a mouse trap vehicle based on a specific design. Students test the vehicle to determine the distance and speed it travels. Students test how various modifications affect the vehicles performance.

Lesson 4: Mouse Trap Vehicle Design - Maximum Distance

Students design and construct a mousetrap vehicle intended to travel as far as possible. Students test their initial design and make modifications to improve the performance of their vehicle. Students create and present an engineering report including the design of their vehicle, test data, final results, and ways their vehicle could be improved.

Lesson 5: Mouse Trap Vehicle Design - Exact Distance

Students design and construct a mousetrap vehicle intended to travel an exact given distance. Students test their initial design and make modifications to improve the performance of their vehicle. Students create and present an engineering report including the design of their vehicle, test data, final results, and ways their vehicle could be improved.

Lesson 6: Mouse Trap Vehicle Design – Maximum Speed

Students design and construct a mousetrap vehicle intended to travel specified distance as quickly as possible. Students test their initial design and make modifications to improve the performance of their vehicle. Students finally race their vehicle against other vehicles made by students in the class. Students create and present an engineering report including the design of their vehicle, test data, final results, and ways their vehicle could be improved.

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