Egg Crush Physics
4 Steps
Let's keep it simple!

In this project, students must build a contraption that can protect an egg from being crushed.  The only materials they are allowed to work with are flat wooden toothpicks and wood glue.  The force being applied to the egg contraption is in the form of a 5 gallon bucket falling from above.  If you're a teacher friend, continue reading below.  If not... don't bother with the reasons for the experiment and skip to the fun part.

You can check out the videos on step 4 for a better idea of what happens to the final product!

Objectives: Student will demonstrate ability to...

1. plan and build a device to protect an egg from forces acting on it.
2. identify the forces acting on their egg contraption and build accordingly.
3. compare and contrast what worked vs. what didn't work.
4. reflect upon what they would do differently.
5. collaborate in small groups throughout the process.
6. calculate the forces acting on their egg (momentum, force, acceleration, speed, velocity)
7. identify where Newton's 3 laws of motion can be observed in the schematic of the experiment.

This lesson can be easily differentiated.  (less toothpicks, less time to build, increased mass in the bucket, higher drop height... you get it)

Students can work in pairs or go at it alone.  I do not recommend bigger groupings.
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## Step 1: Materials

The materials for this project are cheap and easy to acquire.

For the build you will need...
a. 200 flat wooden toothpicks. (I found the mass of 200 toothpicks is 11.3 grams.  I measured out 11.5 because some toothpicks are bound to be bent / broken / too skinny... You can have the kids count them out after you hand them out if they think you shorted them.  This way you don't have to take time to exchange bad toothpicks)
b. Wood glue
c. Wax paper
d. Graph paper
e. 3.5 oz bathroom cups (I like plastic better because they hold up for multiple uses)

Optional
plastic Easter egg, ruler, scissors

For the test you will need...

a. 5 gallon bucket (1)
b. Eggs  (One for each project built)
c. A pulley (optional... just helps decrease friction)
d. Rope (length depends on how high your ceiling is)
e. mass to add to the bucket (I used textbooks)
f. a meter stick or yard stick to measure how high the bucket is when you drop it.
sokamiwohali says: Feb 21, 2012. 8:34 PM
my 8th grade project was to make a bridge constructed of toothpick-length square sticks and then we hung weight-lifting weights from a rope under the bridges to see how much weight they would sustain. mine was the best design of its category and won first. then we placed all the categories into a contest and mine won either somewhere tween 2nd + 4th place. i love construction projects like this!!
mrmerino says: Jan 11, 2012. 7:59 PM
Aww, eigth grade...

It makes me angry every time I think of it.
ladieslilman98 says: Jan 27, 2012. 3:27 PM
hahahaha same here
macrumpton says: Jan 16, 2012. 11:22 AM
I think I would probably build a cylinder by gluing the toothpicks together vertically to make a solid wall and then two flat panels on the top and bottom, to make a sort of egg in a wooden barrel. If the rules permitted it I think I would also glue the cylinder to the egg.
Jayefuu says: Jan 11, 2012. 1:04 PM
That's fantastic. When I was in school we did dropping eggs and making protectors. But this has so much more potential for mess!
sherrycayheyhey says: Jan 11, 2012. 7:46 PM
I had an egg drop assignment in school too.

We had to make something to drop the egg into from the stairs. It was set up like a contest, the height the egg was dropped from was divided by the height of the egg drop container.

I made mine from a very shallow cardboard container filled with sand and I won! My egg only cracked because it was dropped and didn't land in the box.

Some other kid dropped his in a bowl of honey of honey but his container was much taller than mine. We were supposed to drop from incrementally higher steps but he skipped them all and went to the top and got lucky. The teacher gave us both extra credit but I still say mine was more legit :|
lemonie says: Jan 11, 2012. 1:06 PM
Pyramidal / tetrahedron looks better to me(in my imagination).

L
rickharris says: Jan 11, 2012. 5:36 AM
hard boil the egg to save a lot of mess.
Biodynamic (author) says: Jan 11, 2012. 10:55 AM
That's no fun!
Biodynamic (author) says: Jan 11, 2012. 10:59 AM
I love your greenhouse. Is that your property in the picture? I wish I had that much space for my garden!
rickharris says: Jan 11, 2012. 12:32 PM
:-) My front garden in the frame work pictures but the built pictures are on our 1 acre allotment patch.
allesflex says: Jan 11, 2012. 12:07 AM
Very nice! Liked it.. wish we had the same experiment at school when I was young :D