Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Egg Drop

The 6th graders are studying "Our Place in the Universe" in science at co-op. Now, all year I've thought, egg drop contest would be really cool. Now I think, man, we could do an egg drop and tie it in with a lesson on unmanned space exploration to talk about the unique design challenges the Mars Pathfinder, and other surface probes, face.

Of course, tomorrow is the last day of classes, and next week is the building cleanup and picnic, but I bet I can sweet talk the co-op leadership into letting us drop some eggs out of the second and third story windows before we head out for our picnic next week. Especially if the eggs are in ziplock bags to keep them from truly going splat. (I hope).

So, rather than doing laundry or feeding my son breakfast, I've been googling egg drop projects.

Here is the rough list of rules I'm considering going by:

Contest is open to all co-op, grades first and up. Students should work as independently as possible on their own projects, though its understood that the first and second graders will need some help.

Materials and Structure
1. Each construction must be less than 12 inches on each side.
2. Each construction must have some easy means of removing and replacing an egg. (No giant balls of wound and rewound bubble wrap.)
3. No construction may use a pre-manufactured container of any kind. (So, no rubbermaid containers, small shipping boxes, etc. However, packing materials, such as styrofoam or bubble wrap or other recycled materials such as plastic straws, paper tubes, crumpled paper, may be used as cushioning. Also, you may construct your own container out of pieces cut from another container.)
4. Each construction should be an original student design. We are working on the honor system here. You may look on the internet for some ideas, but please do not simply copy someone else's design.
5. No other food items may be included in the construction.
6. Each project must be clearly labeled with the students first and last name.
7. Clear packaging tape or scotch tape is permitted to tape the project closed once the egg has been placed inside. Students should bring their own rolls of tape for this purpose.

The Egg
1. Each construction must be able to hold one chicken egg. Students should bring at least three eggs. (Two for the drop contest, and one for the rolling contest.)
2. The egg must be placed inside a ziplock bag, either sandwich or snack sized, to aid in clean up. The students should bring their own ziplock bags. Each ziplock bag should be labeled with the student's first and last name in permanent ink.
3. The eggs must be raw and unaltered. No hard boiled eggs or vinegar soaked eggs will be allowed to compete.

The Drop
1. Projects will be dropped from three heights....6 feet, the second story window, and the third story window.
2. Students may drop their own projects from the 6 foot height. Projects from the second and third story windows will be dropped by a teacher.
3. If a project hits an obstacle on the way down from a second or third story window, such as the building or the chain link fence along the school's basement windows, the drop is still valid and the results still count.
4. An egg which survives a drop completely intact, with no cracking, will be awarded the highest prize category for that drop height.
5. An egg which cracks upon impact, but does not break, will be awarded the highest prize category for the next lowest drop height. (Thus, an egg which cracks, but does not break, when dropped from the third story window will be awarded the same prize as a completely intact egg dropped from the second story.)
6. The student is responsible for removing the baggie with the egg to show to the judges. The judges have the final say in determining whether an egg is intact, cracked, or broken upon impact.
7. Once an egg breaks, that project may not compete on the next drop level. A cracked egg may be replaced, and the project may advance to the next drop level.

The Roll
1. To simulate the tumbling the Mars Pathfinder must have endured upon impact, we will also roll our projects down the outdoor basement steps at the rear of the building.
2. Students must roll their own projects down the steps.
3. Students may only give their projects one push, or one toss, at the top of the stairs.
4. Projects must make it all the way to the bottom of the stairs to qualify.
5. A project which stops before it reaches the bottom may be rerolled or re-tossed from the top of the stairs, up to three times. However, the egg inside cannot be replaced between the attempts.
6. Students may choose to do a practice roll, without an egg, if they desire. The practice roll is completely optional and does not count towards their three attempts.
7. A project which reaches the bottom on the first try does not have to be rerolled.
8. Once again, the student is responsible for removing the baggie with the egg to show to the judges, who have the final say on its condition.

Prizes for the Drop
Prizes for the drop will be awarded as followed, and are not cumulative:
1. For the 6 foot drop....a miniature candy bar.
2. For the second story drop...a full sized candy bar.
3. For the third story drop....a king-sized candy bar.

Prizes for the Roll
1. An egg that makes the roll to the bottom of the stairs completely intact, will win a full-sized candy bar.
2. An egg that makes the roll to the bottom of the stairs and cracks, but does not break, will win a miniature candy bar.

Adult Volunteers
A panel of three adult judges are needed. Also, a couple of adult assistants to help manage the contestants and the projects would be appreciated :)

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