Div B – Middle School
NC Essential Standards Alignment:
Science as Inquiry, PSc.1.1., Phy.1.1, Phy.1.2
See the National rules manual
Event Score Sheet:
National Event Page:
Each team must bring and impound a single vehicle, a practice log, and any additional/spare parts. All participants must properly wear eye protection at all times. Participants without proper eye protection must be immediately informed and given a chance to obtain eye protection if time allows. Participants without eye protection will not be allowed to compete.
None of our NC tournaments will use photogate timers. We will continue to use multiple human beings with stopwatches, and take the median or average time, depending on the number of timers available. Rule 3-e states “An approximately 1/4″ diameter wooden dowel must be attached…” In NC, that will be interpreted as “a 1/4″ +/- 1/8″ diameter wooden dowel” (updated 11/15/2018)
This is a construction event. Prior to the competition teams will build a vehicle that uses propulsive energy from 1 or 2 mousetraps as its sole means of propulsion to push a paper cup forward, reverse direction, and stop as close as possible to a Vehicle Target Point.
Each team must bring and impound a single vehicle, a practice log, and any additional/spare parts. Teams may bring a stand-alone calculator of any type, data, and non-electric tools for their vehicle which does not need to be impounded. All participants must properly wear eye protection at all times. Participants without proper eye protection must be immediately informed and given a chance to obtain eye protection if time allows. Participants without eye protection will not be allowed to compete.
Low score wins. The Run Score = 2x Vehicle Distance + Cup Distance Score + Run Time (sec) + Penalties. The Final Score is the better of 2 runs.
– Do not modify the structural integrity of the mousetraps in any way. You are permitted to attach additional pieces to the mousetrap arm. You are permitted to drill up to 4 holes in each mousetrap to attach it to the vehicle.
– At any given tournament, approximately 1/3 of the vehicles are penalized for construction violations. This is something easy to avoid.
– Be sure to bring your practice log labeled correctly and measuring at least 3 parameters.
– This is an impound event! Anyone can impound the device for the competitors. Check your tournament schedule to see the times and places for impound.
Mousetraps lose a great deal of their power even after a single trip. Get a spring scale to measure how the mousetrap loses power over time, and calculate when to replace it. Also, try different brands.
Here is the track diagram
These are the cups that we will be using at all NC regional & state tournaments this year.
**Regarding Rule 5-h: this is about starting the vehicle. We have seen a few vehicles that use two mousetraps, however, they activate one trap and then the other. Essentially double tapping the vehicle. I have counted this as a violation (competition and Tier II) because it is touching the vehicle after it has been actuated. The rule is not explicit in this, but is how I have interpreted it. HOWEVER, because the motion has to be “approximately perpendicular” to the floor, I have allowed both traps to be activated simultaneously as the motion can be perpendicular but the pencil can be horizontal instead of vertical. Basically, I allow this approach and not the “double tap” because the second activation counts as (a Mission Possible term) second touch. My ruling is based on a strict reading of “a trigger” meaning a single activation mechanism.
“5-h) Participants must start the vehicle using any part of an unsharpened #2 pencil with an unused eraser, supplied by the Event Supervisor, in a motion approximately perpendicular to the floor, to actuate a trigger. They may not touch the vehicle to start it, hold it while actuating the trigger, or “push” the vehicle to get it started. Once the run starts, participants must not follow the vehicle until called by the Event Supervisor.”**
2018 Mousetrap Vehicle track explanation
2011 Mousetrap vehicle starts in the middle of the track, pushes a plastic cup (Solo 16 oz shown here) 3 meters down the track, then reverses direction leaving the cup behind, and travels back 7 meters to the finish line. Score is based on how close the cup was to the reverse line, and how close the vehicle stopped to the finish line, plus speed (faster is better).
2011 Mousetrap Vehicle. This one overshoots the cup line slightly, then has a great finish.
A vehicle using 2 traps to operate, 2010 rules (no cup, starts and ends at same point on track)
A vehicle using one trap to operate, 2010 rules (no cup, starts and ends at same point on track)