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Lesson Overview

Lesson Title:
Operation Egg Drop

Mr. Jordan Rhodes (Primary)
Mr. Michael Fryda
Dr. Wally Mason

Brief Description:
The basic goal of this project is for students to explore forces and motion by designing an egg drop device to protect an egg when dropped from a specified height. Materials are limited to challenge students in the design process. A major learning outcome includes Newton's Laws of Motion.

This lesson assumes that gravity and Newton's Laws have been taught prior to implementation. This lesson works to solidify concepts related to those topics.

Topics Introduced:
Forces and Motion

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Transportation Systems/ Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
Sales and Service
Suggested Grade Levels:
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade

Standards Taught:
8.2.2 Science 2010
8.1.1 Science 2010
12.1.2 Science 2010
12.2.2 Science 2010

Lesson Information

Learning Expectations:

Students will be able to accurately describe how Newton's laws of motion are on display. Students also will be able to explain how gravity impacts the motion of the vehicles.

Plan Of Action:

Title: Egg-drop inquiry into forces and motion

Concept: There are factors that influence the effectiveness of vehicles in protecting an egg from forces great enough to smash it as it hits a hard surface when dropped from a height.

Terms: force, gravity, speed, Newton’s laws of motion, action forces, reaction forces, inertia

Exploration/Data Collection by the Students:

Toss egg up and down and drop egg onto newspaper and have it shatter on ground. Then I will have a discussion about what students saw leading to concept building.

As a class, we will “tell the story” of the egg vehicle and egg inside as it is dropped and consequently hits the ground. In telling and writing the story together, I will be able to ask questions about the process and begin infusing the story with science concepts, such as force, gravity, and speed as they apply to the situation. This is where their detailed observations of their design and data will be used.

Key Questions:
•Teacher: “What do you know about this egg and situation?”
oAnticipated answers: the egg broke, the teacher dropped an egg from high enough to break.
•Teacher: “I notice the egg isn’t breaking when it is in free fall, why is that?”
•Teacher:"Why did the egg break when it hit the ground?"

Concept Invention/Using Students Data to Invent/Discover the Concept

This section will be fused with the above section during the questioning session with students before building egg-drop devices.

Introduce the vocabulary/ terms: force, gravity, speed

Applying/Expanding the Concept
~20 to 25 minutes

•Students will be instructed to design a vehicle that will protect the egg from cracking from a height of about 12 feet (ceiling height). The materials for the vehicle will be at the front table and will consist of:
oPopsicle sticks (10 per student)
oMasking tape (no more than 1.5 meters for each student)
oPaper (2 sheets each)
oStraws (7 Per student)
oCotton Balls (5 per student)

Students will construct and test their design by dropping one egg per person. They will record the results of their design on their data sheets. Once everyone has designed and experimented with his or her own designs, they will quickly present their results to the class and students will fill out remaining portions of data sheet accordingly. I (teacher) will write down important details on board from vehicle designs that will help facilitate discussion (e.g. cotton ball padding saved egg). During analysis, a possible source of conversation could result from having students think about why their device worked and why another one didn't, or vice versa. Post-experimental analysis (perhaps even on a second day) would be a good time time implement use of vocabulary terms (action and reaction forces) to solidify the understanding of Newton's Laws.

Data Set Used:

Data for this project is observational for the most part. Students will are led through a discussion based on observations that they make through the introduction activity of watching an egg fall and break on the table.

Use file "Operation Egg Drop Final Worksheet" for students to record data about their vehicles and observations that they make during each vehicle's drop. Students will rate each crash result and the mass of each person's vehicle, along with the time that it takes their own vehicle to drop in order to calculate the force put on the vehicle by the crash. See the columns on the document.

Materials Needed:

oPopsicle sticks (10 per student)
oMasking tape (no more than 1 meter for each student)
oPaper (2 sheets each)
oStraws (7 Per student)
oNewspaper for landing area
oCotton Balls (5 per student)
oEggs (1 per student)

oPaper Bags (lunch size) to place all materials in for quick hand-out. Students are not allowed to use the bag in their design.

Preparation Period:

Prior to the activity, student materials need to be separated and placed in paper bags. For 70 bags to be made with student help, it took about an hour.

This is a 3-day (Three 52 minute periods) project that could be compressed into 2. The first two days are for inquiry observation of falling egg, description of project, and designing/building of egg drop vehicles. The third day is for dropping, observing results, and summarizing lab activities.

Implementation Period:

This is a 3-day (Three 52 minute periods) project that could be compressed into 2. The first two days are for inquiry observation of falling egg, description of project, and designing/building of egg drop vehicles. The third day is for dropping, observing results, and summarizing lab activities.

Budgeting at least 150 minutes is important for deepest application.

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

This project relates to science curriculum and engineering through the design process.

Unexpected Results:

It is interesting to see which designs work and which ones do not. Sometimes there were surprises. I was surprised to find out that my students were not able to figure out to use the straws as a "shock" absorber apparatus that is critical to mission success. I was also surprised to hear my students struggle with the application of Newton's laws of motion without significant prompting. I was surprised by how well the students became engaged in the beginning just by seeing an egg fall and splatter on the table. This set-up was an important build-up for the rest of the lesson.

To begin the thought process about the idea of shock absorbers, the teacher could ask students: Why are seat belts important? How do air bags help a passenger survive a car crash? At the high school level, the teacher could introduce the concept of impulse and include short video clips or pictures of air bags, shock absorbers, and seat belts during the lesson introduction.

Considerations for Diversity in Education:

This is a good project for students who struggle with the science concepts or who are lower functioning to get some hands-on experience in the design process.

Another point of consideration is to think about students of lower socioeconomic status who may not have knowledge of the materials or how they could be used. While the materials prescribed in this lesson are rather common and should not pose a knowledge division to many (if any) students, it is important to think about whether all of the students will have had access to materials you choose should you decide to use different materials.

Lesson Files

Operation Egg Drop Final Worksheet
This is the file that students are given on the day of the drop.
[size: 48640] [date uploaded: Mar 11, 2012, 4:11 pm ]

Introductory Hand-out
This is the handout that I gave students to introduce the lesson. It contains the guidelines for students to follow.
[size: 214016] [date uploaded: Apr 06, 2012, 9:20 am ]

Egg Drop Intro PPT
Introduction to the Egg Drop Experiment
[size: 13107200] [date uploaded: 12 April, 2012 ]

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