Unit 3: Gravity
Lesson 8: Egg Drop Engineering Project- Part 3. The Moment of Truth- the actual egg drop.
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.
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.
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."
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)
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.
We are now in the Engineering Design Process of Testing and Evaluating our Prototype and I show the students this graphic again and point out what stage we are in. I have them get out their capsules, their notes and their Power Point presentations to show us their process so far.
This is when we test and evaluate our capsule. I give each group of students an Egg Drop Experiment Data Collection sheet that will help them evaluate the success (or failure) of their capsule. I go over how to fill it out during the egg drop. They will make note of the movement of their capsule while it is dropping (did it twist or turn, did the parachute work if they included one, was there any wind movement that made the capsule move? ), whether or not the apparatus broke, and whether or not the egg broke. The data collection is all observational. They will make any sketches that might help improve their design and make any notes of "failure points" from their design ( we will also look at this in the next lesson). I explain to the students that "failure points" are the parts of the capsule that may have "failed" during the egg drop so that the egg broke. I also show them how to use our Flip cameras so that they can record the egg drop and use the video footage later to evaluate their design.
This is the moment of truth- testing the designs.
Before we start the official egg drops, I have each group do last minute adjustments to their designs and take photos of them so they can refer back to it later to discuss failure points (or success points). I also have them present their capsule to the rest of the class and discuss the process they went through to come up with their final design. Most of the groups created Power Point presentations (created in the previous lesson) to show how they did this. I also asked them to make a Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning statement based on their design. Each student group had a team name, so this is why the Powerpoint presentations have unusual names: Furious 7 Powerpoint, F.C Eggs Powerpoint, The unicorns' presentation, and The Infinity Pack Powerpoint are some of the presentations shown during this time.
I tell the students that I am the official "Egg Dropper" and the other 5th grade teacher will be helping out on the ground. We invite parents to come and observe our egg drop extravaganza and to cheer on their students.
The first test is from a height just above my head (about 6 feet). I make sure that I have set up a " drop zone" beforehand using trash bags and tape for the target. The eggs that don't break move on to the second round- 9 ft. I use a tall ladder and make sure that another adult helps support the ladder. (DO NOT LET STUDENTS CLIMB THE LADDER OR DROP EGGS- I know that this is common sense, but I wanted to remind everyone of this). I make sure to drop the drop zone and check to see which ones were successful.
The third and final round is from the top of the ladder (about 12 feet). I ask another adult staff member who is not afraid of heights to manage these drops. I have a drop zone set up and only the eggs that are successful in the 9 foot drop can move on to this height.
We drop the remaining contestants and record observations and results. The apparatuses that stays intact will move on to a final round which will include a design challenge.
In the next lesson we will look over our video footage, our observations, and photos to evaluate the capsules, make changes to them if needed and have a design challenge to have one final egg drop.