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Egg Drop Challenge teaches PLHS students physics lesson

Students drop eggs off balcony

(Students drop eggs off the balcony as part of egg drop challenge)

10th-grade students were busy finding ways to create  “safe packages” for raw eggs that were dropped from a 10-foot balcony at Papillion La Vista High School on October 29.

The project was done in physical science classes as the students study Newton’s Laws of Motion.

The students needed to calculate force, acceleration, and mass to try to predict how to make a "safe package" for their raw egg to land safely after being dropped from the 10-foot balcony. The students were able to use their creativity when it came to protecting the egg and building a safe space.

They were instructed to give the outside a little "crumple zone" the middle should be a firm and/or strong material to protect the egg and the inside should allow the egg some cushion and "give" to keep the shell intact. 

Students were given prizes for the most creative project, the sturdiest project, the safest project, and "most unique". They were graded on the effort of putting the project together and not on whether their eggs splattered across the ground.  When Science Teacher Michelle Mathison asked the class how they felt like they learned best, 10th-grade student Mikee Naegele replied, "I think hands-on learning is when I learn best, I will never forget this lab."

 
"It made me think about all the parts of Newton's laws and how to put them into action," Naegele said.
 
Naegele was also the winner of the most creative project.  He made his project out of empty pop cans on the outside, cardboard in the middle then rubber bands and bubble wrap in the inner core.  
 
To the student's surprise, most of the success rates were between 33% and 50%.  Most projects were not able to keep the egg safe.
 
Mrs. Mathison reported the results to the students and said that we often learn best from mistakes.
 
"Let's talk about what you would do differently next time." 
 
As a result of the class conversation, one student made the connection on how automobiles keep us safe by having been engineered to have a "crumple zone to absorb the initial shock, this slows down the force on the people in the car, the inner structure of the car keeps the passenger compartment intact, and the seatbelts and airbags prevent the passengers from moving around within the compartment."
 
Many light bulbs were going off in the student's minds.
 
Science Teacher Ryan Carlson was pleased with the student participation.
 
He said, "I try to do as many hands-on activities as I can, over the years my experience has been that when I can get students excited about the labs they learn with passion, with passion, it becomes a life long love of science."   

egg packaged

(Students were given the freedom to think up their own creative way of protecting the egg)

egg drop challenge

(The egg protection devices ranged from boxes to duct taped bags)

egg drop challenge

(Michelle Mathison poses with two students participating in the egg drop challenge)

eggs dropped from balcony

(The eggs were dropped from a 10-foot balcony)