Egg Drop Engineering Project- Part 2

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SWBAT design the best method to safely drop cargo (a raw egg) to prevent it from breaking.

Big Idea

This is the second lesson in a 3 part project where the students use the design and engineering concepts to build an egg drop carrier.

Lesson Overview- 5 E Lesson Planning

5 minutes

Unit 3: Gravity

Lesson 8: Egg Drop Engineering Project- Part 2

5E Lesson Planning:

I plan most of my science lessons using the BSCS 5E Lesson Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.For a quick overview of the model, take a look at this video.

I use this lesson model because it peaks the students' interest in the beginning during the "Engage" portion and allows for the students to actively participate in the investigations throughout the subsequent steps. The “Evaluate” component of the 5E Lesson Model can be used in many ways by the teacher and by the students.

A great resource for lesson plan frameworks and explanations is the Community Resources for Science. The 5E Planning Template and 5E Lesson Planning Prompts come from this website.

Unit Overview:

In this Unit students will conduct some investigations about gravity. They will learn about how the planets stay in orbit around the Sun and will re-create Galileo’s pendulum experiments. They will also learn about Sir Isaac Newton’s work and his Laws of Motion as they relate to the idea of gravity.

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, I teach the students about the next steps in the Engineering Design Process which is the developing possible solutions,  planning and starting to build a landing structure for astronauts for when they return to the earth from their space missions. They will be using raw eggs as their "astronaut."


  • 1 raw egg (buy extras as inevitably some get broken before testing)
  • tape, 2 feet; more tape makes the activity easier and less tape makes it more difficult so scale as you like
  • white glue, such as Elmer's Glue
  • a drop target, such as a dot painted on a grassy field, chalk on a sidewalk, etc.; it is important to be able to measure the distance from the target to the actual impact spots
  • 1 measuring device, such as a ruler, yardstick or tape measure
  • sheets of paper, such as 8.5" x 11 copy paper, but any kind will do
  • 1 large black plastic trash bag
  • pipecleaners
  • cottonballs
  • wide rubberbands
  • Popsicle sticks
  • straws
  • Have the students bring any other materials that they think would be helpful with their design (cardboard tubes, straws, sponges, cardboard, styrofoam, and anything non-perishable that they think would work).
  • plastic eggs for the practice drops

Next Generation Science Standards:

The NGSS standards that will be covered in this unit/ lesson are:

5-PS2-1. Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:  This lesson aligns to the Disciplinary Core Idea of

PS2.B: Types of Interactions  The gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth’s surface pulls that object toward the planet’s center. (5-PS2-1)

Crosscutting Concepts:

Cause and Effect:  Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change. (5-PS2-1)

Science & Engineering Practices:

Practice 6 Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions:

In engineering, the goal is a design rather than an explanation. The process of developing a design is iterative and systematic, as is the process of developing an explanation or a theory in science. Engineers’ activities, however, have elements that are distinct from those of scientists. These elements include specifying constraints and criteria for desired qualities of the solution, developing a design plan, producing and testing models or prototypes, selecting among alternative design features to optimize the achievement of design criteria, and refining design ideas based on the performance of a prototype or simulation. 




10 minutes

To capture my students' attention and get them excited about their egg capsules, I show them this clip from Mythbusters when they made an egg drop with very limited materials. Here is the video. I show them this video so that the students can see that there are several different ways to solve an engineering problem and that it sometimes takes some "outside of the box" thinking come up with a good solution.

Develop Possible Solutions: Now that students have had a chance to do some research on landing capsules, they need to start drawing diagrams of their own capsules. I assign sections of a bulletin board/ wall in the science classroom so that students can keep track of their ideas and process for designing their capsule. This project board will be accessible by all of the students in the group and only people from the group can put new things or ideas on their own project boards. 

I show the students the graphic again so that they can see which steps we are doing in with the engineering process. We will also be selecting a design and building the prototype.


90 minutes

The timing take about 90 minutes since this might take more than one class period- my students took 2 class periods to build their final capsule.  

In the previous lesson the students did research as to how to design a capsule that will prevent an egg from breaking when it is dropped. They also drew a design idea of their own and will now share this with their group and come up with a design they can all agree upon.

Using this research and their individual designs, the students will now design and build a prototype capsule. 

The design must meet the following criteria:

  • it cannot be bigger than a shoe box (dimensions should be no larger than 15cm by 15 cm.)
  • only non perishable items may be used in the design (no food products, shaving cream, etc.)
  • Ms. Mutch should be able to check the egg after it is dropped without having to take apart the entire apparatus (leave a hole that she can place her finger in to check if the egg has cracked or is broken.)
  • a parachute may be attached.
  • keep in mind that the drop will be done outside
  • think of balance, support, wind, etc.

I tell the students to come up with 2 design ideas together in their groups and to draw these two designs on this Egg drop proposal- final worksheet. It tell them to pick the best one out of the two. This will be the capsule they will build.

I provided several materials for the students and I also allowed the students to bring items from home to use for building the prototype. They filled out this materials management sheet to list the materials they had or knew they could bring from home and the other side of the sheet has a "materials request list" so students can ask for any materials they might not have or be able to get. I explain to the students that these materials must be something that I can easily get or purchase, but that I wanted to keep the purchases to a minimum.

The students will need to design their prototype before they get to build and test out the capsule. They can start gathering their materials and build their model and practice dropping the prototype. I give each group a plastic egg to practice with so that we don't waste eggs. If they want to try one last drop before the final one, I will let them use a raw egg, but they must drop it on a trash bag.