Small Machines Make for Big Competition

April 23, 2004 — Getting ready for the MESA National Event is no small challenge! MESA USA’s National Engineering Design Competition Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) Challenge will be held Saturday, April 24 at Cottonwood High School (5715 S 1300 E) beginning at 10 a.m. The competition involves mousetrap-powered cars built by ten teams from four Utah high schools and five junior high schools.


MESA stands for Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement and is a partnership between the University of Utah and the Utah State Office of Education. The MESA Vision is to support the national science and mathematics educational agenda by ensuring that all MESA students develop a high level of literacy in mathematics and science so they can play a leading role within an increasingly technology-based world.


The MPV Challenge presents a very unique set of expectations for students. Teams are required to build a mousetrap-powered vehicle that will perform two or three different tasks. The teams will compete for the fastest time when traveling thirty meters, the farthest movement up a thirty degree incline, and high school teams must also hit a target five meters away.


Don’t let the complexity fool you! A good understanding of two simple machines, friction and Newton’s second law of motion gives students all the background students need to succeed in this competition. This event involves engineering design choices that will balance the MPV’s overall performance. Combined with the technical paper, poster and presentation students are given the chance to shine!


The winner of the Utah event will compete in the national competition at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque the last week of June.

Media Contacts For This Story

Dir, Utah MESA/STEP
Office Phone: 801-585-3135
Email address: ken.petersen@utah.edu