Egg Drop Engineering Project- Part 1
Lesson 8 of 11
Objective: SWBAT Research and design the best method to safely drop cargo (an egg) from a height to prevent it from breaking.
Unit 3: Gravity
Lesson 7: Egg Drop Engineering Project- Part 1
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.
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 introduce students to the Engineering Design Process and tell them that they will be designing 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
- 10 sheets of paper, such as 8.5" x 11 copy paper, but any kind will do
- 1 large black plastic trash bag
- 10 pipecleaners
- 15 cottonballs
- 3 wide rubberbands
- 10 Popsicle sticks
- yarn, 6 feet
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:
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K– 2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s). Support an argument with evidence, data, or a model. (5PS2-1)
I base this engineering design project on the information from the Teach Engineering website.
I gather the students around a clear bucket with a trash bag underneath it, near the front of the room. I tell them to stand in a semi-circle around the bucket but not to stand too close. I make sure that they are a a safe distance away (I might even encourage them to wear safety goggles) and I pull out a raw egg.
I prompt the students to make predictions about what will happen to the egg when I drop it from above my head, and I ask them to observe what happens when I drop the egg into the bucket. Here are photos: egg drop 1 and egg drop 2.
I drop the egg and "splat" it breaks open and oozes in the bucket. I ask the students why this happened. Many respond, because of gravity. A few even remember that we had discussed in previous lessons about how a larger object with a larger mass has a stronger gravitational pull on a smaller object. (insert photo of me dropping the egg).
I ask the students if the egg did anything while it was falling. Some students say that it spun, some say it dropped straight down, others say it sped up as it got closer to the ground. I remind the students about our recent pendulum experiments and tell them to think about what variables they could possibly change with the egg to make it drop in a different way and not break.
I then also introduce the students to the Engineering Process by showing this video from NASA. This video is an engaging way to get students excited about the engineering and design process. I also introduce them to the Engineering and Design graphic that we will be using throughout the project. Here's a photo of me discussing the graphic: egg drop 3.
Ask and Research
We return to our desks and I pose the following scenario to them:
Imagine that you are a NASA engineer who needs to design a capsule for astronauts who are returning to Earth after a long space mission. You are in your capsule hurtling towards Earth. How will your capsule protect you from getting injured when it lands on Earth?
I tell the students that they will be designing a capsule that will protect an astronaut (egg) from getting injured when it lands on the Earth. I explain that they will be working in their science groups and that they will be going through the Engineering Design Process to create the best capsule for their astronaut. I show them this graphic:
I tell them that this is the process we will be going through as we design our capsule. I give a copy of the graphic to the students and post it in the science room. I tell the students that we will be working on the research and planning during this class period and that we will build the prototypes and test them during the next class period and then we will work on improving or re-designing the capsule during our 3rd class if needed.
I have the students get in their groups and make sure they have their Science Notebooks so they can record information.
We start with the "Ask" part of the process: Engineers ask critical questions about what they want to create, whether it be a skyscraper, amusement park ride, bicycle, or smartphone.
These questions include: What is the problem to solve? What do we want to design? Who is it for? What do we want to accomplish? What are the project requirements? What are the limitations? What is our goal? I have the students write these questions and any other questions they need answered in their science notebooks before we go on to the next step.
Some of the questions that the students ask are: how big can the capsule be? What materials will we be allowed to use? What heights will we be dropping this from? etc.
Research the Problem: The purpose of the research is for the students to gather information about what would be the best capsule to design for their egg. I give them the rest of the class period to do the research while emphasizing that I want them to come up with an original design. I have them go to the computer and in Google to type in "egg drop experiment". I tell them to make note of any websites that they find interesting, make note of any designs they like and write materials that they could use to create a similar design. My students were pretty savvy with finding websites and information about egg drop. If your students need some extra guidance a few resources to use are: www.eggdropproject.org www.weirdsciencekids.com/EggDropExperiment.html, and www.teachengineering.org
One group's Egg Drop planning and research notes included roles for each member as well as who was bringing what materials. Another group's Egg Drop research notes included a list of materials they could use. Here is a group doing Egg drop planning and research.
Develop Possible Solutions: I have each group keep a folder to track their ideas and progress as well as to keep notes. All of the papers and proposals will be kept in these folders and will be handed in at the end of the project to receive group and individual grades. Each group came up with a team name and they wrote the names on their folders. For homework, I give the students the following Egg drop planning sheet-proposal worksheet so that they can make up their own design and ideas for the capsule.