In order to demonstrate Newton’s laws of motion, I built a simple mouse trap vehicle, which I enjoyed building. But, if I could change anything about its current state, I should have made the wind-up string longer so that the vehicle can travel further. Despite this, I am pleased to say that the MTV, or mouse trap vehicle, operated smoothly. You can see it in action by clicking the link below.
- A wooden mouse trap,
- A couple of eye hooks (exactly 4 pieces),
- plastic pens (2 pieces),
- A couple of compact discs (4 pieces),
- Nylon string, and
- Electrical tape
It was quite simple really, or I just have a knack for building. I mean, all I had to do was to follow the instructions to the letter. But, from this, I was able to better understand how a simple contraption like a mouse trap vehicle can demonstrate all of Newton’s Laws of Motion. How? Well, let’s count down.
Newton’s First Law of Motion:
In an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.
Simply put, an object will remain at rest or will keep moving as long as no force acts upon the object to move/stop it. In the experiment, this is seen as the MTV slows down to a halt due to friction. Now, this can be remedied by making better wheels, but the materials I had to make them were limited. So I had to make do with what I had.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion:
In an inertial reference frame, the vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration a of the object: F = ma.
In layman’s terms, an object that has mass with acceleration indicates that there is a force. The MTV has a mass, so that’s one out of the two things needed. As for the acceleration, the MTV acquired it the moment I reeled it up and let go. The force produced then caused it to move up to a certain point due to friction, which I mentioned earlier.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
Lastly, this just says that for every action, there will always be a reaction. I consider this as the most important law, as you’ll see why in a second here. By taking a look at the moving wheels of the MTV, we see that they are pushing backwards on the ground, which is the “action” part I was talking about. This, in turn, propels the vehicle forward, thus, the reaction. See what I mean? Without the third law of motion, the car won’t move and if it can’t move, what was the point, right?
So, putting an end to this experiment and moving on to the next, I want to conclude with this. Watch out mice. Cuz I’m coming for you.