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Mousetrap Car Challenge

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Define the Problem—Mousetrap Car Challenge
Designing cars is a complicated process. Engineers design prototypes of their designs and test them, change variables, and test again to design the best car. We will design a car in this unit. You and your partners task is to design a mouse trap car that goes the farthest. You will also answer the question “Why do some mousetrap cars coast further than others?” As in all designs there are specifications. Your car can only be maximum of 45 cm long and no taller than 30 cm. You must make all other design decisions based on evidence from investigations. I will provide a mousetrap and string. All other items must be brought from home. You can not use Legos, Knex, or whole car bodies or frames. You may use manufactured wheels. Extra points will be awarded to partners that do not use items manufacured for toy cars—ie. Wheels, axles, etc. Rubrics and a time frame/task points will be handed out. It is up to you and your partner to stay on task. Points will be awarded for cooperation between partners and equitably dividing up the task. You must justify your decisions based on data from investigations you carry out. We will brainstorm all the design decisions you will make as a class. Beside information from labs, you will gather information on force, motion, and energy. You will explain how these scientific concepts apply to and affect your car. You will test your car prototype, record the date, make a change, explain the change, retest, record, change, explain, and repeat during the time required to produce a working car. We will test the cars on the scheduled day. The car that goes the farthest wins candy bars for their team. You will evaluate your final car and make recommendations for changes.

Gather and Explore Checklist
Task
Brainstorm on Force and Motion What do we already know chart Gather information (what do we need to know) Draw a system diagram of mousetrap. Balloon Car simulation Snapper Investigation Gather information on motion Reflect on the application to your mousetrap car—T-Chart Gather information on force. Reflect on the application to your mousetrap car. T-Chart Gather information on Simple Machines. Reflect on the application to your mousetrap car. T-Chart

Date Due

Explore Ideas—Brainstorm ideas you could use for your car, including the scientific ideas you have from your research.

Plan, Steps, Testing, Final Car
Task
Design prototype of car— Labeled Diagram Parts list Reason for each part based on evidence from investigations and readings Build car Test Car—record results—decide on one change—justify change with data from investigation and readings. Make change. Due Date

Repeat test of car stem until final car is ready.
Labeled diagram of final car with parts list and reasons for each part based on data from investigations and readings. Present car to class with reasons for all design decisions. Take notes on all presentations Final test of all cars. Record data for all cars Written Evaluation of your cars performance with what you would change and why. And answer the unit question—Why do some cars travel further than others, using the information collected in this unit.

Snapper Investigation
IQ—What effect does snapper angle have on the force (Newton's) needed to lift the snapper? Prediction-MV—snapper angle measured in degrees lifted from base. zero, 10,20,30, 40, 50 ,60, 70, 80, and 90 degrees. Repeat for 3 trials. Be sure to find the average. RV—force as measured by a spring scale in Newton's Record in Lab notebook the Organizational Information above Back to Checklist . Draw the data table Perform the Investigation as per demonstration.

Other investigations to Ponder
• What is the effect of placement of wheels and axles on the distance? • What is the effect of snapper length on the amount of force? • What is the speed of your car? • What is the effect of the mass of the car on distance traveled? • What is the effect of the type of tire on distance traveled? • Others?


				
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posted:11/3/2009
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