Fourth graders test physics with egg drop

By LaVendrick Smith | Jun 20, 2012
Photo by: LaVendrick Smith Isabella Blumemann and Ava Manning show off their designs for Mukilteo Elementary’s egg drop. Fourth graders participated in the school’s egg drop on June 12.

Students at Mukilteo Elementary cracked open more than just eggs last week –they unleashed new ideas.

The school hosted its first-ever egg drop competition on June 12 for its fourth grade students.

The egg drop was in celebration of Siemens Science Day, a national event that promotes science and engineering in elementary schools. The competition was a fun way to teach students the effects of gravity on falling objects.

“We’re trying to promote math and science in the field of engineering by doing something fun that kids can relate to,” said George Pfeiffer of Siemens, an international electronics and electrical engineering company.

The students were given the task of building a structure that would protect a raw chicken egg from breaking when dropped at different heights. They used a variety of materials to create their devices, from balloons and bubble wrap to spaghetti.

The fourth graders formed 25 teams with five students on each team. Each student’s container was tested at the initial height of 6 feet. If the egg survived the fall, the student would advance to the next height.

“It was awesome,” said Ben Friend whose egg – which was protected by a structure made of marshmallows, bubble wrap and popsicle sticks – survived a 15-foot drop. “It makes me feel terrific.”

Ava Manning created the winning design. Her egg, which was sheltered by spaghetti, rubber bands and construction paper, was the only one that didn’t break. It survived a fall of more than 20 feet.

“It felt really good,” Ava said. “It was really amazing to see the egg not break from such heights.”

As winners, Ava and her team won gift certificates to a science store. All the fourth graders received certificates of achievement and a Siemens backpack.

George Pfeiffer was impressed by the engineering skills the students displayed in making their structures.

“It’s just fantastic,” Pfeiffer said. “You see a lot of different levels and different ideas.”

Pfeiffer said exposing children to engineering is important because engineering plays an important role in everyday technology.

“A lot of people think math and science are nerdy, but they’re really not,” Pfeiffer said. “There’s some really cool technologies out there that people are making so that we can enjoy our lives.”

The egg drop competition was one of many ways Mukilteo Elementary promotes critical thinking. The school also hosts an annual science fair.

“Kids are going to have to have 21st century skills,” said Principal Pat Cushing. “When [students] are given something that’s a little bit complex and they don’t get stuck with it and they find out their successful, that builds confidence.”

LaVendrick Smith is an intern for The Mukilteo Beacon.

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