A super-fast, super-cool car that uses the pent-up energy inside a mouse trap spring to propel a homemade car forward. While normally this is reserved for high school physics classes, it really is a fun and inexpensive experiment to do with kids of all ages.

This is a great demonstration of how energy changes form. At first, the energy was  stored in the spring of the mousetrap as elastic potential energy, but after the trap is triggered, the energy is transformed into kinetic energy as rotation of the wheels.

Remember with the First Law of Thermodynamics: energy can’t be created or destroyed, but it CAN change forms. And in this case, it goes from elastic potential energy to kinetic energy.

There’s enough variation in design to really see the difference in the performance of your vehicle. If you change the size of the wheels for example, you’ll really see a difference in how far it travels. If you change the size of the wheel axle, your speed is going to change. If you alter the size of the lever arm, both your speed and distance will change. It’s fun to play with the different variables to find the best vehicle you can build with your materials!

Here’s what you need to do this project:

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