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For more information about Science Day at PSU, contact the PSU Biology Club

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Physics Frolics Rules for 2014 Science Day

Mousetrap Car Competition

The purpose of this competition is to build a car whose only source of power is a standard mousetrap.  Typical mousetrap cars are built using a metallic wire extension of the trap with a string attached and then wrapped around the axle of the car.  The mouse trap car can be built of any materials, however make sure that the only source of power is the mouse trap itself.nbsp; In addition, the following rules apply:

  • Again, the standard mousetrap is the only source of power (not those larger traps).  Fishing rods, rubber bands, and other materials that stretch or bend may not be used in combination with the mouse trap.  These are additional sources of stored energy (they’re essentially springs).
  • The mousetrap may not be used as a catapult to project a car down the hallway.
  • The cars will run in a hallway approximately 2.5 meters wide, thus straight travel is important.
  • Winners will be judged according to the maximum distance traveled.
  • Each car may be built by an individual or by teams consisting of 2 people or fewer.


Physics Face-Off

This is a straight-forward competition in which four major brains (preferably in four different bodies, however this is optional) can work as a team to solve a set of physics questions and problems within a specified time limit.  Your equipment will include high-tech, state-of-the-art pencil and paper, which will be provided.  In addition, each participant may bring a calculator.  One team will be allowed for each school represented (secondary teams for any given school will be considered on a “first-registered, first entered” basis, depending on how many schools are represented, but only the top scoring team from each institution will count toward the overall school competition).  As the participants will need to be with their respective teams throughout this event, participation in other events should be prior to or after this event.


Paper Tower

The objective of this competition is to build a free-standing tower of maximum height using a single sheet of 8.5" by 11" photocopier paper and one 50 cm strip of cellophane tape.  No other materials may be used.  Participants will be required to construct their tower at PSU during the timed competition.  The paper and tape will be provided, as well as scissors and a ruler. It is recommended that students develop a tower design and practice building it prior to the competition.  The paper may be cut or folded into any shape, and the tape used to fasten any parts of the tower together. 
           a. The tower must be free-standing—it may not be attached to the floor, ceiling, or any other object. 
           b. A tower will be declared free-standing if it remains self-supporting for more than 10 seconds.  
           c. Height is determined by measuring the perpendicular distance from the highest point   on the tower to the supporting surface.  
Each tower may be built by an individual or by teams consisting of 2 people. Limited to 3 teams per school


Physics Frolics and Earth and Space Science overall competition winners

Total scores are calculated by taking the rank of the top placer from each school as the school’s score for that event.  If a school does not participate in an event, then they are given a score that is equal to the lowest participant score plus ten for that event.  The scores are then totaled and the schools with the lowest point totals win the overall competitions.