Mousetrap Drag Race



Introduction: Mousetrap Drag Race

The goal of the game is to present the five physics lessons present in the game that will be interactive and exciting for the players. The game can be played by a single, duo, and even by a group. To win the game, you need to follow the process of making the mousetrap car disregarding the wheels for it will be your own creativity on what materials to be used to expect your car to speed up and pass the obstacles in the track. The player with the mousetrap car that has the shortest time to reach the endpoint of the game will be the winner.

You must be wondering what academic lessons can be seen in the game and these are:
The materials that will be used are very particular with the measurement and can greatly affect the race results. The mass (SI: "kg"- kilogram) of the whole mousetrap car should be known to the players for it will affect the speed and time of the vehicle that can either help you or fail you while playing the racing game. The length is visible too in the process of making the vehicle. The length (SI: "m" - meter) of the nylon spring will help the mousetrap's snap bar to release and exemplify forward motion. Moreover, the time (SI: "s" - second/s) of the game will be important throughout for it will tell whose team/player won the game. The game will record the data using the International System of Units (also called the SI system) The system will be much easier for the recorders because it is the physical standard for length, mass, and time which is present in the process of making the vehicle and the actual game.

This game is also connected to the types of error. First, the random error, during the game, the wind may affect the results of the race. It may cause the direction of the mousetrap car to rotate. Second, the systematic error, it can be present during the game because of the wrong alignment of the wheels that may cause the mousetrap car to decrease its speed or change its direction. Such errors can happen too during the measurement of materials and the result.

The concept of vectors can also be seen in the game. Vector quantity is a physical quantity that possesses both magnitudes which is simply the amount of the quantity and direction. The DIY mousetrap car can be claimed that it travels at a consistent momentum every meter. In every other kind of toy car, it can be observed that at a certain distance, it starts to curve off its path. In this case, it travels or speeds with a direction that can be identified as velocity with a particular time and displacement.

The concept of kinematics is also seen in the game. Kinematics or Newtonian mechanics refers to the part of mechanics that describes motion without regard to its causes. In this game, we can put into description of "how fast" the DIY mouse trap car moves that entails the distance covered through the use of getting the average speed. The average velocity is also a quantity that is correlated with the expression "how fast" which is the average value of the velocities acted by the DIY car and the total displacement traveled in time.


  • mousetrap
  • four eye hooks
  • two pencils
  • pliers
  • four wheels (your own concept of wheels; can be household materials or actual wheels)
  • two pop can tabs
  • electrical tape
  • fishing wire
  • drill

Step 1: The Making of the MTV

Step 2: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Drill two shallow holes on each of the short ends of the mousetrap about ½ inch from each end.

Step 3: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Screw in the eye hooks, one into each hole, at the same level.

Step 4: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Detach the square snap bar from the middle bar to give greater grip and to produce greater potential energy when launching the vehicle.

Step 5: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Straighten the bar to align the long side of the mousetrap.

Step 6: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Cut the top of the two pop can tab and bend them in slightly, just enough to grip the pencil as discussed in step 10.

Step 7: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Secure the pencil through a pop can tab, both eye hooks, and the second pop tab. Put the pencil at the center and mark each side of the pencil to 1 to ½ inches from each eye hook.

Step 8: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Carefully wrap the electrical tape around the pencil at the mark. Position the wheel's hole over the tape from time to time, and stop when the wheels are fit around the tape.

Step 9: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other short side of the mousetrap, but make sure the interior axle-length of this side is longer than what was created in steps 6 and 7.

Step 10: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Drill another hole through the center of the pencil (on the ‘’ mouse’’ side of the mousetrap).

Step 11: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Make sure that the pop tabs are very close to the eye hooks, and then pinch the cut ends of the pop tabs to the pencil to keep it (axle) from shifting sideways. Check if the pencil could rotate freely. Repeat this step with the other two pop tabs for the opposite axle.

Step 12: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Use the pliers to straighten the bar from the point it meets the top of the mousetrap towards the inside so it will not interfere with the motion of either wheel.

Step 13: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Measure the fishing wire or the nylon string from the tip of the bar to about 2 inches past the tip of the mouse’s nose. Make sure that you have removed the straight bar anchored at the tip of the mouse’s nose.

Step 14: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Cover the edges of the back wheels with an electrical tape for more grip during take-off.

Step 15: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Slip the fishing wire or the nylon string through the hole drilled through the pencil in step 9 and knot it securely.

Step 16: A. Building the Mouse Trap Vehicle (MTV)

Make a loop at the top of the straight bar. Tie the other end of the fishing wire or the nylon string to the loop at the top of the bar and secure it with an electrical tape.

Step 17: B. Launching the MTV

Slowly rotate the back wheels so that the fishing line is wrapped around the axle (pencil) until the line is stretch.

Step 18: B. Launching the MTV

Pull back the bar and continue winding again until the wire is stretch.

Step 19: B. Launching the MTV

Hold onto the back wheels and gently place the car onto the smooth ground in an open area (with least 20 feet of horizontal distance).

Step 20: B. Launching the MTV

Release the wheels and observe your car speed away.

Step 21: B. Launching the MTV

Make adjustments if the car does not travel in a straight line. Check the pop tabs to make sure the axles are aligned properly and cannot move from side to side.

Step 22: C. Race Game Proper

Prepare at least a 1-meter distance pathway and label your starting point and finish line.

Step 23: C. Race Game Proper

The race can happen in two ways: a simultaneous race or a concurrent race.

1. A simultaneous race is where all participating race cars will compete for all at the same time in the pathway side-by-side. The participants will let go of their mousetrap cars on the emcees’ cue.

2. A concurrent race is where the participating race car will compete but not simultaneously. A timer and recorder will be needed to track all the participants’ time intervals during the race.

Step 24: C. Race Game Proper

On the count of three, participants should line their own mousetrap and launch it on the count of three.

Step 25: C. Race Game Proper

The first player with the shortest time to reach the finish line from the starting point will win the race.

Step 26: C. Race Game Proper

Good luck and have fun players!

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