Children really love Project Egg Drop

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

There are scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and then eggs for the famous raw egg drop engineering activity.

It provides an opportunity for some real life problem solving using physics principles, creative engineering fun, and materials found around the house.

The beauty is all ages can do this and have a great time together.

Question and pool knowledge

How can you protect something really fragile like a raw egg if it is dropped? Discuss how packages are shipped when there is something breakable inside

What are are the problems to consider? Some are the speed which gravity makes it fall and jarring and shaking when it crashes. Start by dropping a simple Lego space ship with an action figure on top. Take a look at what happens. How can you protect the action figure?

How are babies protected in cars? How are children and adults protected in cars, on bikes, or playing hockey? What do soldiers have to slow them down and land safely when they jump out of planes? How could you work in teams to protect a raw egg that is dropped from a height of 4 feet or 10 feet or more? There are so many questions waiting to be answered.

Engineering materials

Help children search around the house for construction materials like cardboard, packing material, cotton, drinking straws, tape, string, newspaper, balloons, pipe cleaners, wire, or foam rubber. What else could be used to slow down the speed of falling and violence of the crash?

Lay all of the materials out so children can use pencils, markers, and paper to make a few sketches of possible solutions. This important step encourages children to plan. Then they can construct a few devices and discuss possibilities.

Keep asking how will you slow down the descent and make the landing gentle? If possible, have a construction team to talk together. Remind your children that they need to look at the egg and put the contraption back together to perfect and try again after the drop. Make a few models, name them, and predict what will happen.

The team can test by dropping them from a ladder or stairs onto a cookie sheet or tarp. If the first few don’t work, scoop up the cracked eggs to cook later and remind children what Thomas Edison said about resilience when he and his team were inventing the light bulb. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” You can take some movies and pictures to share.

Really spectacular packages were dropped on Mars in 2004. Google or Bing ” Spirit rover landing on Mars “ and view a video version of the rover parachuting and bouncing around safely on the surface of Mars. For more science at home see and Through the Seasons.