Science class constructs carrier for school egg drop

Sunday, May 19, 2002

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- Students sat quietly on the floor in the Bethany Lutheran School gymnasium as principal Todd Stirn stood on a platform, ready to rise 25 feet into the air.

As he let the cherry picker lift him high above the basketball nets in the gym, several cardboard boxes stood stacked at Stirn's feet.

Once he was high in the air, Stirn lifted the boxes at arm's length and dropped them, one by one, to the gymnasium floor. Some of the packages made a loud splat as they hit, earning a shriek and a cringe from several students. Others hit with a softer impact.

Just after one white cardboard box hit the floor, Patrick Backes ran to pick it up and brought it to a nearby table to open it up.

"Did it break?" his classmate, Chris Arnold, asked in anticipation as Backes peeled back the sealing tape to reveal the box's contents.

Amid the bubble wrap and foam packed within the box lay a perfectly intact chicken egg.

This was an "egg drop," the final event of a new inquiry-based science program at Bethany Lutheran, developed by teachers Joanne Rach and Lana Hahn.

Adding cushion

For the final project, students had to design a box that would cushion the blow of dropping an egg from a substantial distance.

To prepare for the event, students met with their teammates a few days before the egg drop to determine the materials they wanted to use to build their containers. Some students put their eggs in small boxes within a larger cardboard box, while others wrapped their eggs in everything from bubble wrap to rabbit fur.

Some of the containers built by the students were successful in their mission to cushion the impact of the fall.

For their project, fourth-graders Michael Kutz, Chad Romp, Joshua Dejong and Brett Gunderson filled a cardboard box with plastic foam and newspaper. Their egg was placed within a small plastic container, which was then filled with soil.

"We thought the soil would cushion it, but actually it broke it," Dejong said. "I think all the stuff we had in there caused too much pressure."

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