This physics project looked at impulse, momentum, forces and collision time in the same way that automobile engineers would to make cars safer. The students were tasked to design a container that would keep an uncooked egg safe from a fall of about 40 feet. They used the same approaches that auto engineers use in making crumple zones in the hoods of the car, adding airbags, using seat belts and hardening the passenger compartments to design their container. Their containers had to fall freely (no parachutes or wings) and had limits on the size and weight of their containers. To make things more interesting, the team with the container that allowed the egg to survive and weighed the least got bonus points on the project.
While they were experimenting with various designs, the students would go out and drop their containers with an egg in it to see how well it worked. This was the most visible part of the project and lots of teens were spotted dropping their containers from various high points about town. Many containers and eggs were destroyed in this process. However, the students learned a lot from these failures and improved their designs.
On the official “drop day,” the students brought in their containers and dropped them from the top of the new bleachers at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Most of the containers allowed the eggs to survive. Successful designs used all sorts of materials, including bubble wrap, rubber bands, cardboard, plastic water bottles and even a plastic jar filled with peanut butter. The winning team of Graham Traylor, Brooks Holder and Jared Garcia had a container that weighed only 20 grams (.7 ounce) and allowed a 53-gram (1.9-oz.) egg to survive the fall.