Inside SFS

8th Grade Engineering Design Challenge: Mousetrap Cars

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  <strong>By <a href="/live/profiles/37-eugene-stampley" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Eugene Stampley</a>, 7th &amp; 8th Grade Science Teacher</strong>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">8th Grade scientists are finishing up their latest STEM Design Challenge: mousetrap cars! In this challenge, using the Engineering Design Process, teams of three students collaborate to</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">build a basic mousetrap car prototype that uses the classic set-up of string connected to the lever arm to rotate the axle.</span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;"><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3370</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">667</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="0c61473c1dbc6e3cb90d0a6ece27fca3"><img width="500" height="667" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3370_mousetrap_cars_6.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3370 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3370_mousetrap_cars_6.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3370_mousetrap_cars_6.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1536" data-max-h="2048"/></arg></widget><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3371</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">667</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="a09387f771164a98cebffc17f152728d"><img width="500" height="667" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3371_mousetrap_cars_5.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3371 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3371_mousetrap_cars_5.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3371_mousetrap_cars_5.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1536" data-max-h="2048"/></arg></widget></span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">In the first stage, each team received the same recycled materials and instructions for building, with the goal of having their car travel exactly five meters. They were required to do a good amount of background research related to speed, acceleration, velocity, energy (potential and kinetic), and Newton’s three Laws of Motion. &#160;</span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;"><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3372</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">667</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="dbe58afc8983579da51442f401028bf0"><img width="500" height="667" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3372_mousetrap_cars_2.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3372 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3372_mousetrap_cars_2.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3372_mousetrap_cars_2.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1536" data-max-h="2048"/></arg></widget><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3373</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">667</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="46b05cb1f23958f3a7442de8abd5b492"><img width="500" height="667" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3373_mousetrap_cars_7.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3373 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3373_mousetrap_cars_7.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3373_mousetrap_cars_7.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1536" data-max-h="2048"/></arg></widget></span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Once the cars were prototyped, we had what I call</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Epic Failure Day</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. On that day, we tested the cars with the expectation that most or all will not be able to travel the full five meters. Anything that meets the standards, we celebrate, of course, but if a car doesn’t, that’s fine - that just means it’s time for students to brainstorm and figure out what modifications they’ll need to make for the next prototype.</span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;"><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3374</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">667</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="56d39450bef4e435cef0999c24a66428"><img width="500" height="667" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3374_mousetrap_cars_4.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3374 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3374_mousetrap_cars_4.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/667/3374_mousetrap_cars_4.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1536" data-max-h="2048"/></arg></widget></span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Each group brainstormed and selected one modification they’d like to make to improve their car’s ability to travel five meters. They were only able to make one change per prototype, to really isolate what the variable was, and to identify which modification was the most effective. They conducted more research to support their modification, and then were able to build and rebuild as many times as they were able to fully plan and test each idea. For instance, one group changed the wheel material from styrofoam to CDs to reduce friction, and another measured the wheels and predicted how many revolutions the wheels would need to travel five meters.</span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;"><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3375</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">375</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="5fa230053a8742b21fb63488cb17966f"><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/375/3375_img_0500.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3375 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/375/3375_img_0500.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/375/3375_img_0500.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2048" data-max-h="1536"/></arg></widget><widget type="image"><arg id="id">3376</arg><arg id="width">500</arg><arg id="height">375</arg><arg id="format"><img width="{width}" height="{height}" alt="" class="lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" data-caption-enabled="false" data-credit-enabled="false"/></arg><arg id="cache" valid="ae14063daefb436cd4206a3c70f5328e"><img width="500" height="375" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/375/3376_img_0322.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image3376 lw_align_left lw_block lw_column_width_half" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/375/3376_img_0322.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/500/height/375/3376_img_0322.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2048" data-max-h="1536"/></arg></widget></span>
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  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Our final testing phase will be this week - please stop by the 7th &amp; 8th Grade Science Room to see students’ fabulous work!</span>
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Posted January 29, 2019