In gale force winds on a bone-chilling Thursday, middle-school students put their physics know-how to the test by launching carefully-constructed encasements protecting fragile cargo (a raw egg) out of a second story window.
Students had to take into account force, gravity, speed, acceleration, air resistance, shock absorption, and impact in designing their prototype and then submit it for approval before receiving materials to build their actual lander. Proof of concept included a detailed and labeled sketch to scale and a written summary. Construction materials included:
1 paper bag
1 plastic shopping bag
3 small balloons
2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper
1 meter of masking tape
15 plastic straws
1 meter of string
2 paper clips
1 raw egg (on the day of the launch)
Success was measured by the condition of the egg upon landing and the weight of the lander. The least-damaged egg carried by the lightest model, wins. One winner was named per section and a master-engineer was designated for the entire project.
Tyler Harmon's egglander was by far the heaviest, weighing in at 26.5 grams but his "egg-stronaut" survived the fall unscathed. Science Teacher Jill Reves thought that Tyler's very careful design would not be a likely winner due to its heft, but was proven wrong.
Logan Moniz used the concept of an airbag to drive his design. He explained, "I wanted to drop it on some airbags so I taped three balloons together, made a roll cage out of straws, and tied a plastic-bag parachute to the top." His egglander weighed in at 19.9 grams with no damage to the egg.
The master-engineer award went to Owen Mullins for his egglander weighing in at a mere 10.1 grams. It was a daring minimalist design that looked like it might fail during launch as the egg rocketed straight down. It landed as planned with the egg intact.
Congratulations to Owen, Logan, and Tyler!