Mousetrap Catapults Helpful Hints
- An introduction to simple machines and mechanical advantage will
benefit the students greatly.
- Emphasize the need to change the trajectory. Students capable
of changing the launch angle are more successful than students with a fixed
angle and adjustable power.
- The students should consider mounting the mousetrap to the
device in such a way that allows them to change the trap if necessary.
Velcro, tape, and screws all work for this. Avoid gluing it down. The continual
snap of the lever arm weakens the spring as well as the wood itself.
- If students have limited resources, a shoe box will work as
a base. Some weight may need to be added to the box.
- Showing students examples from previous years or examples built by the instructor can be a good starting point.
Construction Hints and Tips
Building a basic mousetrap catapult: This design is a basic starting point.
It is by no means a highly accurate catapult.
||Step 1- Attach a plastic spoon to the lever arm of the mousetrap.
(Duct tape works well for this)||
||Step 2- Take two 12 inch long by 4 inch wide by .5 to 1 inch thick boards
and connect them with a hinge.
||Step 3- Attach the mousetrap to the top board at the opposite
end of the hinge.
||Step 4-Slide a door stop or wedge in between the two boards
to adjust the angle.
||Step 5-Set the trap and launch a marshmallow.
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