June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.1316.1 - 15.1316.12
Using a Mousetrap-Powered Vehicle Design Activity to Convey Engineering Concepts
As part of a NSF-sponsored project within GK-12, a curricular unit was introduced to students in an urban middle school elective course. The module sought to immerse students in a design project, during which they would be introduced to theories and concepts relevant to the construction of a mousetrap-powered vehicle.
- hour session per week for 10 weeks. After introducing the course goals and demonstrating the
a two- erials. Each week thereafter, lessons on measurement, unit conversion, forces, torque, and energy were introduced and corresponding activities were adapted to the mousetrap vehicle project. Vehicle-specific investigations on friction (forces) and moment of inertia (torque) allowed students to calculate the efficiency of their mousetrap-powered car and determine which modifications were necessary to achieve their goal.
At the completion of the elective, students responded to an open-ended survey that gauged their interest in the project, impression of science and mathematics, and willingness to pursue similar - physical concepts taught in lessons as they experimented with their own mousetrap-powered vehicle models, and might be more willing to approach other scientific concepts if taught by example.
Over the course of the 2008-2009 academic year, an elective course was developed and implemented at Middle Years Alternative (MYA), an urban middle school in Philadelphia, PA, as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate K-12 Fellowship Program (GK-12). In accordance with the GK-12 outreach goals enriching the content of courses related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
phenomena and awareness of the engineering discipline.
Inquiry and design-based a National Science Education Standards (NSES), and have garnered favorable support in the
Fitzpatrick, J., & Fontecchio, A., & Fromm, E. (2010, June), Using A Mousetrap Powered Vehicle Design Activity To Convey Engineering Concepts Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16307
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