An egg drop challenge tests the skills of engineering and physics students. Students are allowed plastic straws, tape and other minor materials such as ice lolly sticks, but the basic material used should be straws. The goal of the experiment is to construct a container that will protect an egg when it is dropped from a certain height.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Internet access
- Scrap paper
- Boba straws
- Clear packaging tape
Research websites such as NASA's Mars Rover Mission and Science Ideas to get design ideas for your egg drop experiment. You want a design that will cushion the fall of the egg so it will not break. The basic materials you will be using are straws so you need to find a method that will use the material to its advantage.
Draw ideas on a scrap piece of paper with a pencil. Consider a design that holds the egg into position and has a strong cushion effect. Then test your design by building it.
Cut Boba straws to the width of your clear packaging tape. Boba straws are thicker and can be purchased at Asian food shops. The thickness should help better cushion your egg compared to regular drinking straws.
Unroll about 25 cm (10 inches) of tape and place sticky side up on your table. Place the straws on the sticky part of the tape side by side in a line. Place another piece of 25 cm (10 inch) tape on top of your straws. Wrap the straws inside the tape to form a loop. Secure with tape. This will be the container for your egg.
Unroll 20 cm (8 inches) of tape and place the cut straws along the sticky part of the tape like before. Place more tape on top to secure. Cut another piece of 20 cm (8 inch) tape and place more straws down on the sticky side. Add more tape on top. These two pieces will become the base of your egg drop design.
Tape the two 20 cm (8 inch) pieces of tape with straws together for the bottom cushion of your design. Place the round looped straw container over the cushion so the hole is facing up. Put the egg inside and secure with tape by placing tape over the opening of the container and down along both sides and underneath the cushion.
Test your egg container design by dropping it, cushion down, from table height. If your egg is intact, try higher. If your egg container fails, make adjusts to your design, such as container size and cushion thickness.
Tips and warnings
- Check with your class experiment rules before you design your container. If it needs to withstand a drop of 6 m (20 feet), you need to take that into consideration.
- Experiment with different designs to find the best one that works.
- Ask former students how they designed their egg drop experiments.
- Drop your egg outside to prevent a big mess.
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