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An Egg-citing Moment for Lockhart’s Young Engineers

“Splat” was the one sound fifth graders didn’t want to hear for their annual egg drop competition at Lockhart Elementary School. For a STEAM challenge, students worked in teams to build contraptions that could protect an egg when dropped from the second floor.

Magnet and STEAM teacher Tracey Perles said that this was an end-of-year activity to review several scientific concepts such as drag, gravity and momentum. The goal was to add components, like a parachute, that would slow down the landing of the contraption as it was sent to the blacktop below.

Students followed the engineering design process, as their first created a plan before building with recycled materials that they brought from home. To make it a little more challenging, Ms. Perles didn’t let them use bubble wrap, a popular go-to item for cushioning.

Plastic eggs filled with pennies were used for the test drops, but when it was time for the main event, each group placed a real egg inside. Ms. Perles said that the practice drops were important because real engineers always test their creations before unveiling a final product. Students were able to see if they had success or failure with the plastic egg, and then go back and make adjustments. For the competition, the class with the fewest broken eggs was declared the winner.