Is that a mousetrap under the hood? Why, yes. Yes it is.    

Tags: Avista Utilities, Community Service, Renewable Energy

Mousetrap cars on display
Mousetrap cars on display.
When you think of alternatively-powered cars you might think of solar, natural gas, or even hybrid-electric, but I bet mousetraps don’t come to mind. Unless you’re from Kettle Falls, Wash., where they’ve got the mousetrap car down to a science. A science project that is.

Shane Heideman, who teaches science at Kettle Falls Middle School, designed a semester-long project to help students learn the basics of energy and get them thinking about how alternative resources can help decrease greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

When Avista was approached by the school to take part in the project, we welcomed the opportunity to partner with the community and help support science education.

Approximately 120 7th and 8th graders, working in teams of 3-4, were given the assignment to develop, construct and market an alternatively-powered car. The only requirements were that the car be built using a mousetrap as the propellant, and that it be able to move three meters under its own power. Teams also had to develop a tri-fold marketing brochure and be ready to race their cars at the end of the project.

Timing the races.
A mousetrap car shoots across the
gym floor. An Avista employee
records the time. 
We helped provide information for the students’ research, speaking to them about our resource mix and how we make our renewable energy. We also showed them our Sun Car.

Student teams put in several weeks of working on the cars and brochures, and their hard work culminated in a race and brochure contest in late November. Avista joined in the fun by providing a guest judging panel and prizes to the teams with the best entries. The teams with the fastest cars in three rounds won cash prizes to split among team members.

The students were excited about their awards and proud of their hard work, and we had a great time helping out on the big day.
Posted by  System Account  on  12/9/2009
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