You Just Crack Me Up!

By aroth on Feb 10, 2016

In this engineering design lab you will invoke the Scientific Method as you egg on your students to take one large egg, 5 sheets of printer paper and a meter of masking tape, and design a container to allow an egg to survive a 6 meter drop. If successful, the egg will hit the ground and remain without a crack. Seriously? 
 
This lab involving a raw egg that can be use in the following ways and in different grade levels:
  • Engineering Design
  • Scientific Method
  • Motion and Stability
  • Energy
I've used this lab in different grade levels and the last day of egg dropping is hilarious!
 
 

Preparation:

  1. Purchase at least three dozen large eggs for a group of five. In reality, you may have to get more.
  2. Beg or borrow a ream of printer paper, 8 ½ by 11 inches.
  3. You will need a meter stick (Large print or Braille) for each student or group of two students.
  4. You will need a roll of masking tape per student/group of two.
  5. Clear off a lab table or two, and away you go!

Materials

  • large, raw eggs
  • printer paper
  • masking tape
  • meter sticks (Large Print or Braille)
  • scales that measure grams (Large Print and Talking)
  • scissors
  • plastic paint tarps (just because you know there will be yolk everywhere!)

Procedure

  1. Each student or group will be given a lab that includes data table and questions, a single egg, a meter of masking tape (that they measure), five sheets of printer paper, a scale and scissors.
  2. The instructions are simple: Use no more than one raw egg, a meter of masking tape, printer paper, a scale and scissors, to design a container which contains a raw egg which will survive a 6.1 meter fall (about 20 feet) without a single crack.

LAB

In this lab I will egg you on to be the best by having an egg survive a 6.10 meter drop. The goal is simple: Design a container so an egg will survive. This is not shell game and certainly the yoke is on you if you fail. OK! No more wise cracks. Don’t be a chicken. You certainly want Grade A results and you don’t want to either scramble your data, or fry your answers. However, poaching your competition might just be fun. Now is not the time to be boiling mad ☺

Rules:  

Egg packages are to be made of only paper and masking tape.  Paper and one meter of tape will be provided so that all students are using the same materials.  Students may use at most 5 sheets of paper and one meter of tape.  Students may work alone or with one other person.  The best package will be the one that falls from the greatest height, (saving the egg) and that weighs the least.  Packages will be weighed after the drop without the egg.  A crack is considered a break.

Grading:  

  1. 30 points: package is assembled but breaks from drop in classroom.
  2. 35 points: package is okay but egg breaks from drop in atrium.
  3. 40 points: egg survives all tests.
  4. 10 points: Completed Data Table.
  5. 20 points: Completed questions.
  6. 20 points: report (see below for what is in the report.

Bonus: 

  1. 3 points for working alone
  2. 5 points for first place
  3. 3 points for second place
Note: In cases of a tie for first and second places, the winner will be determined by the mass of the empty egg container. The lightest mass in grams will win.

Egg Drop Report (20 points)

  1. All rules for writing will apply; paragraph indentations, margins and proper spelling.
  2. Explain your design in detail and why you chose it.
  3. Describe improvements you made to your design on subsequent practice days.
  4. Describe what happened on the final Egg Drop Day.
  5. Describe how you used physics to come up with your design. You might have to Google some of this information.
  6. Make a statement as to whether or not you believe this project is related to chemistry, your beliefs and desire for success in life.

Data Table:

  1. Mass of the egg: ______ g
  2. Masking Tape: _________Meters.   (Note: The final Masking tape used for the final drop must have a variance of no more than 5% (5 cm) to qualify for points.    ______cm error or ____%
  3. Mass of the empty container: _____  g

Questions:

  1. Name some typical forces that acted on the egg as it dropped.
  2. How can you control the forces that would cause the egg to crack?
  3. How does the height dropped affect the egg’s ability to withstand cracking?
  4. Describe the problem solving you used to create a successful or unsuccessful egg container.
  5. What questions did you have during the lab that you were unable to answer?

Variations

  1. Students have four days to do this; they may ask for more eggs.
  2. Students cannot use more than five sheets of printer paper, but they can use less paper and less tape and make their container of any design.
  3. Students may stand on the lab table and drop the eggs any time they want. They will get only one shot at dropping the egg from 6.1 meters.
  4. Additional variables can be measured, depending on the level of your students:
    1. Momentum
    2. Pressure
    3. Air Resistance
    4. Angular Momentum
    5. Gravity
 

NGSS Standards:

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

  1. Analyzing data in grades 9-12 builds on experiences from grades K-8 and leads to more detailed data analysis, using previous knowledge.
  2. By applying previous knowledge built upon the Scientific Method, questions can be answered and new hypotheses developed to gather data and come to successful conclusions (HS-L54-3)

Constructing Explanations sand Designing Solutions

  1. Constructing explanations and designing solutions in grades 9-12 builds on experiences from grades K-8 and leads to more detailed data analysis, using previous knowledge. Variables are eliminated as the experimental design continues 
  2. Evaluation of evidence goes beyond the obvious and accepted explanations of solutions are altered (HS-L54-5)

Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

  1. Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information in grades 9-12 builds on experiences from grades K-8 and leads to more detailed data analysis, using previous knowledge. The Scientific Method and all its steps are fully integrated in multiple formats; communication becomes essential in the experimental design in all its formats. To insure a product meets successful qualifications (HS-L54-1)