Name of Activity Mousetrap Building, Testing, and Redesigning
Author Terry Greene, Merredith Portsmore, Abe Gissen
Keywords mousetrap, LEGO, sculpture, test, evaluate, redesign, prototype, engineering design process
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 4 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will construct a prototype of a part of the Mousetrap LEGO sculpture. They will test, evaluate, and redesign the part.
Lesson Objectives: To gain experience with and build an understanding of the steps of the engineering design process.
Materials Needed: LEGO Team Challenge kits for each group of 2 – 4
Computer running ROBOLAB
IR tower
MINDSTORMS for schools using ROBOLAB manual (in kits)
Designing a Mousetrap Sculpture Response Sheet

Mousetrap Game by Milton Bradley
Poster of the design process

Various kinds of balls (tennis, golf, marbles, etc.)
Twine, string, or rope
Extra LEGO pieces for building, LEGO people, LEGO animals
Paper, tape, cardboard, oaktag, markers

Preparation and Set Up: Gather necessary materials.
Designate a spot in the classroom for project storage.
Make enough copies of the worksheet (attached) for every student in the class.
Arrange students into groups of 2 – 4.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background Teachers should review the engineering design process so that they can emphasize the process in class (see attached document).


  1. Begin by asking the small groups to sit next to each other.
  2. Review the charts form last class in which each team agreed to build of the parts of the Mousetrap Sculpture.
  3. Give each student a copy of the “Designing a Mousetrap” Worksheet.
  4. Explain that before any building starts, engineers draw and write their ideas down so that they can come back to them later in the project.
  5. Explain that the groups will be completing the worksheets together, each writing their ideas down.
  6. When students have completed the worksheet, review it with the team and save them later for review.
  7. Let students begin building.
  8. Check in with the groups at the start of the class. Help direct groups that are having trouble. Give them building ideas.
  9. Half way through the project have a check with the while class, setting clear time limits on finishing the project.
  10. Decide as a class the order of the parts of the mousetrap.
  11. Brainstorm how to connect the different parts.
  12. Set a timeline for the parts to be completed and for the presentation.
Reference 1buildtestredesign.pdf
Reference 21.doc
Reference 3
Reference 4
Online Reference(s),
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