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Egg-citing Experiments - from The Messenger

April 29, 2023

Chickens may not fly, but it turns out their eggs sure can - and it doesn't always end pretty.

That was the lesson fifth-graders at Cooper Elementary School learned this week as they worked with paraeducator Jean Black to design and create contraptions to toss off the top of the tallest slide on the school's playground without cracking the egg inside.

The egg drop experiment is a classic activity students have tackled throughout the ages. The challenge is simple - create a device or method to protect a raw egg as it drops from a considerable height in hopes that the egg remains whole when it hits the ground. The experiment teaches students lessons about gravity, wind resistance and impact, Black said.

"They had to do a little research and we talked about the physics behind it," she said. "Then they decide what they wanted to do, if they wanted to focus on just decreasing the impact by padding it or using parachutes for air resistance to slow down the speed."

To test their creations, the students climbed to the top of the tallest slide on the school's playground and let their egg contraptions fly - once on gravel and once on wooden boards to show the difference surfaces make on impacts.

After successfully launching her creation made of tape, popsicle sticks, packing peanuts and a grocery sack as a parachute, fifth-grader Sophie Brown decided to try it again without the parachute, hoping to repeat the success.

Instead, she ended up with egg on her face. Well, egg on her hands, anyway.

"Ewwwww," she shrieked as bright yellow yolk oozed out of the cylinder when she picked it up off the ground.

Brown had been pretty confident in her construction - she layered ripped up packing peanuts and bubblewrap around the egg before taping a perimeter of popsicle sticks around it. She also added a few packing peanuts on the outside of the cylinder, as well as a few Minions stickers, but those were just for show.

"There was a parachute, but I didn't really like it," she said.

Turns out, that parachute was pretty important.

Brown explained her choice of construction materials.

"I think the sticks would take an impact and it would keep it from breaking, but that didn't really work," she said.

Another group of fifth-graders had the opportunity to test out their egg-protecting devices on Monday morning. One team came up with an egg-stremely unusual design- teammates Brenna Geilenfeld, Carley Johnson and Prya Hankinson-Avila nestled the egg into a jar of peanut butter.

The idea came from something Geilenfeld had done at home long before this project was assigned.

"One day I was bored at home, so I just literally put an egg in a peanut butter jar and I threw it off my deck," she said.

When Black introduced the egg project, Geilenfeld immediately told her teammates they needed to try the peanut butter.

"We thought it was crazy and that it wasn't going to work," Johnson said.

To their surprise - and with some help from some extra packaging around the jar - their egg stayed unharmed through both drops. The third time, though, they decided to forgo the extra packaging and just toss the jar by itself, which landed with a splat.

The girls are pretty sure they know why the peanut butter seemed to be a good medium for keeping the egg from cracking.

"It's sticky," Hankinson-Avila said.

"It's very thick, so I think it protected it all around," Geilenfeld added.

After the gravel and board drops, Black gave the students some brown-shelled farm fresh eggs so they could take another crack at it.

Although her most recent attempt was scrambled, Brown decided to try with the new eggs.

"It has a harder shell," she said.

As each team released their eggs, Black kept score on which eggs survived and which eggs went the way of Humpty Dumpty, though the students will have to wait until next week to find out who won.

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