The egg drop experiment can have many variations. This is the one I like best. I have used it for a number of years, made some adjustments along the way, and think it's finally time to share with you.
I use this project as a way to make the mathematics part of physics relevant to my 7th graders. They are calculating mass, speed, velocity, momentum, force, and acceleration and having fun at the same time. They have the freedom to design their own project but are constrained by the materials provided and the time allowed.
The materials are cheap and easy to acquire which is a recurring theme on my teacher budget (materials are on the next page).
I usually give students about 45 minutes of pure build time. This does not include the time taken to hand out materials. I usually hand out the materials and give them some planning time... then start the clock. Because my school has 45 minute periods, we can't do it all in one class period. I force them to build and test in two.
I have an area to drop that is 5.3 meters. You will want to find an area that is at least 4. The higher the better!
*The new national science standards, if your state chooses to adopt them, will place greater emphasis on the process and application of topics than on recall. This is a simple, yet effective way to asses what they know and are able to do (and aligns perfectly with the motion and forces standards).
Step 1: Title, Introduction, Materials, and Methods
How does the design of an egg contraption protect an egg from the combined forces acting on it when subjected to a drop of 5.3 meters?
a. Background - In class, the topics of speed, velocity, resultant velocity, acceleration, and momentum were explained and mathematical calculations were performed.
b. Purpose - This experiment is designed to review these forces by completing an egg drop lab.
c. Hypothesis - If an egg is dropped from a height of 5.3 meters and the egg shell must not crack, then the egg must be well protected from outside forces acting on it.
d. Prediction - Egg contraptions with the most speed and therefore the most velocity, acceleration, momentum, and force, will have the greatest chance of breaking.
a. Materials: Teacher should supply a balance, a good place to test the contraption, a way to measure the height of the drop in meters, and a stopwatch.
1 egg (I don't always hand these out right away)
5 popsicle sticks
5 straws (I like bendy straws but it doesn't matter)
5 rubber bands
2 sheets of paper
100 cm of string
100 cm of masking tape
b. Methods -
1st: Create a detailed drawing of what you plan to build.
3rd: Build a contraption that can protect an egg from a fall of 5.3 meters
4th: Find the mass of the contraption (with the egg)
5th: Test the contraption (calculate time of fall with stopwatch)
6th: Calculate speed, velocity, acceleration, force, and momentum
7th: Analyze results
8th: Create a detailed drawing of what you actually tested.