Egg Drop

Students learn about momentum, collisions, impulse, and stopping force as they address the engineering challenge, “How can a container be built to protect fragile cargo during a collision?” Teams start by building cubic, triangular, and cylindrical egg containers, dropping them from increasing heights while evaluating their effectiveness at protecting an egg from damage. Students apply what they have learned to achieve the highest drop in which the egg remains intact, competing in one of 4 design challenges: Single Drop, Three Sides Drop, Limited Mass Drop, or Limited Volume Drop. The activity concludes by entering all the reengineered egg protectors into a classroom competition.

Description

Students learn about momentum, collisions, impulse, and stopping force as they address the engineering challenge, “How can a container be built to protect fragile cargo during a collision?” Teams start by building cubic, triangular, and cylindrical egg containers, dropping them from increasing heights while evaluating their effectiveness at protecting an egg from damage. Students apply what they have learned to achieve the highest drop in which the egg remains intact, competing in one of 4 design challenges: Single Drop, Three Sides Drop, Limited Mass Drop, or Limited Volume Drop. The activity concludes by entering all the reengineered egg protectors into a classroom competition.

Time Requirement
Total, 210 minutes. Teacher prep, 30 minutes. Background, prototyping, and the design challenge, 105 minutes. Assessment and presentation, 75 minutes.

Crosscutting Concepts
Structure and Function

Disciplinary Core Ideas
Forces and Motion

Science and Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Learning Objectives
Compare the effectiveness of containers of various shapes at protecting a dropped egg.
Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Prior knowledge of momentum, collisions, and Newton’s third law are useful.
Apply the concepts of momentum and force to brainstorm ideas for the design of an egg container.
Build and test a protective container for a dropped egg.

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