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CRHS STEM students among top 10 at Widener Mousetrap Competition

Team Mouse Masher recognized at engineering event

Cumberland Regional High School (CRHS) STEM students recently earned a top-10 rank of nearly 100 teams participating in the Widener Mousetrap Competition at Widener University in Chester, Pa.

Team Mouse Masher, consisting of CRHS juniors Leslie Baez, Connor Bondi, and Katie Miller, tied for ninth place among hundreds of high school students from throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The team successfully designed and built a vehicle that traveled around a rink further than dozens of their peers, applying knowledge and skills developed through the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program at Cumberland Regional.

“We turned the wheels to the side and angled them to go perfectly in a circle, then made the inside wheel smaller, set the mousetrap with a long arm, and snapped it so it went around in a circle,” explained Baez, crediting Miller for the team’s initial design idea.

Apart from incidental gravitational energy, the spring energy from a standard, traditional snap mousetrap was the only permitted source of power. Team Mouse Masher of CRHS added foam board, balloons, a piece of a clothes hanger, paint stirrers, and pens to create its winning design.

“One of the challenges we faced was to keep adjusting the wheels to come up with the right exact angle to go in the circle length needed,” Baez said. “That really showed us how important trial and error is in science.”

Each participating student team was provided a design problem and set of specifications, and participants were encouraged to learn and develop their skills of planning, design, and implementation, all while working in a team environment, as do practicing engineers. Team Mouse Masher’s engineering skill was evident as its vehicle cleanly circled the rink to collect enough points to place the CRHS students in the top 10.

Baez noted the competition “was really cool” and offered the participants many ideas to bring home to their schools’ STEM programs. She described the experience as interesting and a strong representation of the STEM education offered through the program at Cumberland Regional.

“I feel like STEM is a great thing to get me ready to go into a good job and to be an engineer in actual life,” added Baez.