We just dropped them off the top of my house but the other homeschool co-op in our town apparently dropped theirs from the top of a water tower!
I had the kids write, after observing what happened with their design, what they would do differently if they got to do it again. Even people whose egg survived immediately wanted to do it again and tweak their ideas. Here were their answers:
- I would use less duct tape and use more wool.
- I would put the egg higher in the box (more padding beneath it) and tape the box closed.
- I would put bubble wrap on the bottom (of the box) and put the egg in the middle and add wool.
- I would build it in the given time, put more weight in the box, and put the parachute on the bottom of the box to slow the fall.
Even though we didn't take the time (yet) to let them build a second design, we still had Egg Drop Part II, because I decided I wanted to try my hand at it. A friend had suggested that a long piece of PVC pipe just slightly wider than the egg might trap the air below the falling egg, creating a cushion of air resistance and slowing it down. I thought it was an intriguing theory. So we went ahead and cheerfully tried it today, dropping an egg down a 10 foot tall piece of 2 inch diameter PVC pipe. We spent a lot of time looking through three cartons of farm eggs, trying to find the one which fit the diameter of the pipe best.
They watched. I dropped it. It smashed.
But... tomorrow I would like to drop an egg the same height with no padding to see if the pipe made any difference. After all, maybe the pipe did help somewhat. Who knows?
I've never heard of anyone who does an Egg Drop first dropping an unprotected egg, so the kids have something to compare it to. It would be interesting, and maybe easier for those children whose eggs smashed to accept their "failure" if they could see how much better their egg fared that an egg which had to protection at all!
A ten foot long piece of 2 inch PVC pipe isn't expensive, and is actually a useful buy since you can use it in Roberto Trostli's Mechanics Activity #9 ("The Third-Class Lever") as well.
Physics is Fun! A Sourcebook for Teachers
However, even if you didn't need it for another demonstration, I still think it would be important to model the spirit of true inquiry to your children.
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