Physics Students Take on the Yearly Egg Drop Engineering Challenge

Physics Students Take on the Yearly Egg Drop Engineering Challenge

The week before exams, or as the physics students like to call it: Humptyfest, Mrs. Humphrey’s physics class was assigned the engineering task of combining the entire semester of physics knowledge into this one challenge: to drop an egg inside of a lightweight contraption off of top of various heights, as high as 5 meters, without it breaking when it hits the floor. “It was very intense, especially when we got up to 5 meters.” Senior, Gina S, says.

Students designed all sorts of different ways to prevent their eggs from breaking, but to make the task even more difficult, they are assigned a very specific list of items to use. Some include straws, toothpicks, rubber bands, and a couple of index cards. The list is changed every year to make it a challenge. Senior Ivy S, “This project was challenging because you had to consider all the restrictions when you started to build your contraption, but it was fun seeing how they all turned out.”

Many ideas that Mrs. Humphrey’s class came up with were successful. She explains, “The best ideas are contraptions that have some sort of suspension design to keep the egg from hitting the floor, and contraptions that rotate, which introduces rational energy, therefore reducing the speed and momentum upon impact.”

The original blueprints for the contraptions were often not the final, but that was always a good thing. Senior, Kathleen J, adds, “What we pictured our project to be ended up being completely different from what we ended up creating. It was hard to piece it together and make sure it was stable enough, but in the end out hard work paid off.”

Mrs. Humphrey’s goal for her students with this engineering obstacle was to improve their critical thinking and analysis skills, challenge them to think and write using correct physics principles, and have fun. Judging from the results and outcome following the project, the goal has been achieved!