Mousetrap Car

Illustration Elements

Illustration Sub-competencies:


Students were asked to design and build mousetrap cars. They were encouraged to do research but were not allowed to use pre-made kits. Students built and tested prototypes, and then modified their designs. While students worked individually to each make a car, they often gave each other suggestions on how to improve or fix each other’s initial constructions. The students’ final cars were entered in a class Mousetrap Car Competition to see whose car could go the farthest.


Activity Photo

Activity Video

Teacher Observation

She adjusted the body of her car to reduce the amount of friction created and added a longer string, so her car could go further. Her biggest problem was that her car veered to the left instead of going in a straight line. She flipped the wheels 180 degrees to see if that would fix the problem, but it did not. She asked if the cars could be launched in the gym instead of the hallway so that her car’s swerving would not cause it to crash into a wall before it reached its maximum distance. She later speculated that making the car heavier would have helped prevent the wheels from coming loose and causing the car to veer to the side.

Profile Analysis

Creative Thinking

I can get new ideas in areas in which I have an interest and build my skills to make them work.

I generate new ideas as I pursue my interests. I deliberately learn a lot about something by doing research, talking to others, or practising, so that I can generate new ideas about it; the ideas often seem to just pop into my head. I build the skills I need to make my ideas work, and I usually succeed, even if it takes a few tries.

Critical and Reflective Thinking

I can gather and combine new evidence with what I already know to develop reasoned conclusions, judgments, or plans.

I can use what I know and observe to identify problems and ask questions. I explore and engage with materials and sources. I can develop or adapt criteria, check information, assess my thinking, and develop reasoned conclusions, judgments, or plans. I consider more than one way to proceed and make choices based on my reasoning and what I am trying to do. I can assess my own efforts and experiences and identify new goals. I give, receive, and act on constructive feedback.