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Mousetrap Vehicle

Division: Div  B – Middle School

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Science as Inquiry, PSc.1.1., Phy.1.1, Phy.1.2

Event Rules: See the National rules manual

Event Score Sheet: 2020 Event Scoresheet

National Event Page: Here

Required Materials: Each team must bring and impound a single vehicle, a practice log, and any additional/spare parts. All participants must properly wear eye protection at all times. Participants without proper eye protection must be immediately informed and given a chance to obtain eye protection if time allows. Participants without eye protection will not be allowed to compete.

Clarifications: None of our NC tournaments will use photogate timers. We will continue to use multiple human beings with stopwatches, and take the median or average time, depending on the number of timers available. Rule 3-e states “An approximately 1/4″ diameter wooden dowel must be attached…”  In NC, that will be interpreted as  “a 1/4″ +/- 1/8″ diameter wooden dowel” (updated 12/4/2019)

10/29/19 (Division B) 7.f. Scoring, should read, edits in bold:

f. Tiers: The highest number Tier will be applied when more than one is applicable:

i. Tier 1: Runs with no violations

ii. Tier 2: Runs with any competition violations

iii. Tier 3: Runs with any construction violations

iv. Tier 4: Teams with 2 Failed Runs

v. Tier 5: Teams that did not impound their Vehicle during the impound period

(Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels of violations were switched to be consistent with other Vehicle events)

Description:

This is a construction event. Prior to the competition teams will build a vehicle that uses propulsive energy from one snap mousetrap as its sole means of propulsion to reach a target as quickly and accurately as possible.

Materials:

Each team must bring and impound a single vehicle, a practice log, and any additional/spare parts. Teams may bring one stand-alone calculator of any type, data, and non-electric tools for their vehicle which does not need to be impounded. All participants must properly wear eye protection at all times. Participants without proper eye protection must be immediately informed and given a chance to obtain eye protection if time allows. Participants without eye protection will not be allowed to compete.

Scoring:

Low score wins.  The Run Score = 2x Vehicle Distance + Cup Distance Score + Run Time (sec) + Penalties.  The Final Score is the better of 2 runs.

Common Mistakes:

– Do not modify the structural integrity of the mousetraps in any way.  You are permitted to attach additional pieces to the mousetrap arm.  You are permitted to drill up to 4 holes in each mousetrap to attach it to the vehicle.
– At any given tournament, approximately 1/3 of the vehicles are penalized for construction violations. This is something easy to avoid.
– Be sure to bring your practice log labeled correctly and measuring at least 3 parameters.
– This is an impound event!  Anyone can impound the device for the competitors. Check your tournament schedule to see the times and places for impound.

Recommendations:

Mousetraps lose a great deal of their power even after a single trip. Get a spring scale to measure how the mousetrap loses power over time, and calculate when to replace it. Also, try different brands.

Event Resources

Mousetrap Vehicle 2019 Coaches Clinic Presentation (2020 Rules)

Here is the track diagram for 2020

Mousetrap Vehicle 2017 Coaches Clinic Presentation (2018 Rules)

Media:

2018 Mousetrap Vehicle track explanation
2011 Mousetrap vehicle starts in the middle of the track, pushes a plastic cup (Solo 16 oz shown here) 3 meters down the track, then reverses direction leaving the cup behind, and travels back 7 meters to the finish line. Score is based on how close the cup was to the reverse line, and how close the vehicle stopped to the finish line, plus speed (faster is better).
2011 Mousetrap Vehicle. This one overshoots the cup line slightly, then has a great finish.
A vehicle using 2 traps to operate, 2010 rules (no cup, starts and ends at same point on track)
A vehicle using one trap to operate, 2010 rules (no cup, starts and ends at same point on track)