Algebra class took a turn toward science last week as students at Take Two Academy built and tested mousetrap cars.
The cars had a string that was wound around the rear axle and attached to the mousetrap. When released, the mousetrap sprung, pulling the string and moving the wheels of the car.
Students worked in groups of two or three to build a car, which they found was not as easy as it might look.
"We broke it a lot. It fell a part because it's fragile. We super-glued it," says junior Hannah Kretzschmar.
Students then tested the cars in the gymnasium. They timed how long it took for the cars to go from the baseline of the basketball court to the half-court line.
"Students seem to really be enjoying the project," says teacher Johncy Martin. "Critical thinking is required, because they want to enhance the design by making modifications. Students also worked well as a team."
Students had to overcome challenges when their car did not run as expected.
One group had a car that ran well distance-wise, but veered to the right, which made reaching the line take longer.
"We had to adjust the way it pulls the string to help the steering be equal," explains senior Pedro A. Garcia.
To wrap up the lesson, students calculated averages based on the data collected through multiple trial runs.