Egg drop projects in eighth grade teach students the basics of physics. The question to be answered is, "Can a raw, unaltered egg be dropped from a pre-determined height without breaking?" The height, the point of impact and distribution of shock from impact are important factors in the project. Most projects require students to figure out how to drop the egg rather than prove the results mathematically.
The Concept of Gravity
Gravity is a concept we usually take for granted. The force of gravity keeps all objects firmly on the surface of the Earth. Gravity works in conjunction with the forces of power, motion and inertia. Motion is the action of falling, power involves the weight of the object and inertia involves the speed of the falling object. Combining these four forces produces the primary impact, which is the act of the object hitting the ground. It is important that the egg does not suffer from primary impact. Rather, the objects surrounding the egg should absorb the primary impact.
Materials for an Egg Drop
Materials often used for an egg drop include puffed rice cereal, foam, tape, Popsicle sticks, straws and plastic bags. Some students have constructed a surface for primary impact while others have cushioned the egg with air, which allows the egg to move around while continuing to avoid primary impact. The students attempt to allow the four forces to embrace the egg without directly affecting the egg.
Constructing an Egg Carrier
Students have used tape and Popsicle sticks to build "egg homes." The egg is taped between a triangle of sticks, then dropped from a pre-determined height. Students have also placed eggs in foam, such as packing materials or cups. Eggs have been placed in zip top bags with puffed rice cereal, providing an air cushion to absorb primary impact.
Students often purchase a dozen eggs to test their contraptions before the assignment is due. Often, a student who breaks the egg upon impact fails the assignment. Therefore, testing is important for an eighth grade egg drop project. Purchase extra materials if necessary, and test all ideas before constructing the final egg drop container. Build the final container to be used in the assignment and do not test it if the test containers broke upon impact.