Students put physics laws in action

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Junior, Michelle Pupkina putting last minute designs on her car.

Junior, Michelle Pupkina putting last minute designs on her car.

Junior, Ellis Mitchell admires his car just before one of the test runs.

Junior, Ellis Mitchell admires his car just before one of the test runs.

When has a school project ever required you to become an engineer? This year the IB physics juniors were given the task of building a car that is powered by a mousetrap. This was a frustrating challenge for many, but the motivation of competition made most students persevere.

The assignment was not easy, especially because students had little experience building something of that nature. “The most frustrating part was making the lever arm the correct length to make the car travel the farthest. Through trial and error I determined that a short arm would make my car go the furthest,” said Megan Laureno.

Despite the challenges, the promise of getting a 100 for having the car that went the farthest distance made the difficulties worth it. Michelle Pupkina was one of the students dedicated to being #1. “If I have the possibility to make something a win or lose situation, I’ll take that chance. Plus, I was really certain that my car could go more than 10 meters,” she said.

To deal with the challenge of constructing a car, students sought out different sources of knowledge. Parker Garvin went to his grandfather, a retired engineer, for help with the project. “It was nice to spend time with him, but he wanted to build it to last, not just for a project,” said Garvin.