Physics Mousetrap Car Competition

Event Description: Teams of two or three people will build a mousetrap-powered car designed to travel a maximum distance in a straight line.



  1. The car must be powered by a single spring mouse trap.
  2. The mouse trap may not be modified in any way except to attach it to your car.
  3. The car may be any size, shape, or weight.
  4. As always, a good design and quality construction are contributing factors toward success.

Scoring: Each group will have a chance for three trials. Teams may work on their car between trials.

Logistics: Competition location may not be revealed until the actual competition. Teams should prepare for competition on a variety of surfaces.

Reflection: As a team, submit your answers to the following questions:

  1. Analyze your mousetrap car's motion:
    1. How far did your car travel horizontally?
    2. How long did your car take to travel this far?
    3. What was your car's average velocity?
  2. How did your group maximize the work done by the mousetrap spring on your car?
  3. What role did friction play in the performance of your car? Did it aid or hinder?
  4. Beginning with the stored mechanical energy in the spring, explain the multiple transformations the energy goes through
  5. How did undertaking this project improve your understanding of work and energy?
  6. How did you feel about this project when it was first assigned?
  7. How do you feel about this project now that it has concluded?
  8. What would you have done differently as you and your team worked through this project?


Distance >0m >2m >5m >10m >12m Score
Points 2 4 6 8 10  
Velocity Calculations complete done w/AFSA correct Score
Points 1 3 5  
Completion on time Score
Points 25  
Energy Transformations 1 2 3 4 >=5 Score
Points 2 4 6 8 10  
Reflection turned in sheet answered completely introspective and thoughtful Score
Points 1 3 5  

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