Their school assignment was building a better mousetrap racecar, one that would travel farther than other physics classmates.

But while there were winners in this competition, it was — after all — a chance for Columbus East High School students to learn about physics. In particular, they learned about Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. The classroom competition required students to think about friction and how to get the most pulling force out of strings that launched the cars.

Starting with a mousetrap provided by physics teacher Dellvenna Hambling, students were assigned to go out and create a racecar using anything they could find in just over a week’s time.

The competition, now in its 12th year, gave more than 100 East physics students a chance to build their own cars or work in teams.

Cars were judged based on how many meters they traveled in a straight line in the school’s gymnasium, as well as their creativity.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or