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Brush Students Put Physics into Action with Mouse Trap Powered Cars

Brush students in AP and traditional physics classes recently had the opportunity to apply classroom concepts by constructing and testing mouse trap powered cars. Students began constructing the cars outside of school shortly before Christmas break using simple household materials.

The car design consists of a simple, flat wooden or plastic frame with a mouse trap attached to the front portion. Wooden rods are used for axle and are attached to four CD’s which function as the wheels of the car. A long string is then wrapped around the rear axle and fixed to a hook at the end of short metal rod, which in turn is attached to the spring of the mouse trap. An unopened Pepsi can is placed at the rear of each car to act as a standard weight. Under the guidance of science teachers Mr. Gary Mikes and Mr. Dan Trentanelli, students learned about principles of physics including friction and energy conversion which are utilized to help propel the cars forward.

On Tuesday, January 20th, students had the opportunity to witness these principles in action by racing their mouse trap powered cars in the hallway outside the classroom. Students propelled the cars forward by releasing the spring of the mousetrap, causing the metal rod to pull the string on the rear axle. The spinning motion of the rear axle then moved the wheels of the car forward. During each student’s demonstration, Mr. Mikes and Mr. Trentanelli used measuring tape and a timer to record the time and distance traveled by every car. Students’ grades were awarded based on the speed and distance of their individual car in comparison with the rest of the class.  

The following students from Mr. Dan Trentanelli’s class (pictured from left to right above) achieved the top five highest recorded scores for their mouse trap powered cars:

1. Chris Schmidt
2. Camille Fine
3. Yehosef Brown
4. Rebecca Wittke
5. Maya Eisenberg

Congratulations to all of the students who participated for a job well done!

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