Egg Drop Savior for Gravity Challenge

Egg drops are a traditional and popular school project in U.S. public schools. Educators can incorporate new variations on the standard egg drop, which involves dropping an egg from a certain height in a protective outer cover. In addition to the team and competitive functions of the project, other learning outcomes or science knowledge can be built into the activity. In "The Complete Handbook of Science Fair Projects," Julianne Bochinski notes that projects such as the egg drop "allow students to work out a basic problem using science knowledge and available materials."

Gravity Egg Drop

The most basic form of this project allows students to create a makeshift box or device to test by dropping it with eggs inside from a set height, from which it falls according to the law of gravity and the effects of air resistance. The box and egg that meet the least air resistance will fall fastest, and the egg will likely break unless the box is extremely sturdy.

Chemically Altering the Eggs

Teach students about the changing properties of solid materials based on temperature and various chemical reactions. This is a project primarily for older students from a chemistry class, since it requires working with chemical compounds and laboratory equipment. Show the students how to freeze, boil or coat eggs in different hardening or softening chemicals, e.g., Spackle, ice or rubber cement. Allow each team or team member to pick a method they think will work best and test it to see which most effectively protects the egg. Reward the winner. For some fun, you might also want to present a lesser award for the most creative destruction at the hands of gravity and the ground.

Slowing the Fall with Air Resistance

Challenge the students to create a device that slows the eggs' gravitational fall by increasing the air resistance. Balloons and parachutes would be the obvious suggestions, but give the students ample time to work as a team and come up with additional ideas or variations. Make helium available to the students, if possible, to further increase their options. Use items such as hats and handkerchiefs to create a parachute.

Egg Drop Prediction

In this activity, the teacher should supply a handful of various egg drop containers for the students to judge and form hypotheses about. Cover a lesson in gravity first. Teach the children how to calculate the effects of wind resistance on different-size and different-shape objects as they fall. Have the students make written predictions about which "crash car" they think will function best and create the most resistance to a drop. Check the results against student predictions.

Date: 
2010