Most students participate in an egg drop experiment either in elementary school or college. This science project requires students to build a contraption, sometimes with limited resources, which keeps an egg from breaking or cracking when dropped. Often school champions are entered into county and state competitions where their designs compete against those from other schools.
The aim of an egg drop experiment is to construct a protective device around a raw chicken egg, which keeps it from cracking when dropped from a certain height. The height from which eggs are dropped can vary from 3 feet to the first story of a building. Students construct their designs and often explain why they believe they will prevent their eggs from breaking. Eggs which survive the first drop are re-dropped from increasing heights until only one unbroken egg remains.
Common Materials Used
The most frequently used materials in egg drop experiments are popsicle sticks, glue, plastic straws, tape, boxes, paper, plastic bags and cotton balls. To ensure equality in the competition, the materials are often limited and evenly distributed to all teams, which narrows the variables down to only the design, rather than the materials used. Other materials that can be used to protect the egg include polystyrene cups, cereal, rubber bands, tissue paper and plastic bubble wrap.
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Egg Drop Designs
There are many varieties of egg drop designs that students use. One design is to wrap the egg in bubble-wrap and place it into a shoe box held shut with elastic bands. Another design involves placing the egg inside a small plastic bag full of puffed rice cereal. The bag is centered in a larger bag filled with several other identical small bags also containing cereal.
Naked Egg Drop
A lesser-known, alternative version of the egg drop experiment is the "naked egg drop." Rather than cocooning the egg in a protective cage, the naked egg drop requires participates to build a landing platform to catch the egg. The raw egg is dropped from a designated height without protection onto a landing platform. Students have to build a landing platform soft enough to prevent the egg from breaking on impact.