MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > The Great Egg Drop: Investigating the Relationship Between Gravity, Mass, and Density

The Great Egg Drop: Investigating the Relationship Between Gravity, Mass, and Density

Tom Emanuel, St. John's Catholic School, Savage, MN
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Summary

In this outdoor lab, students will make observations on the outcome of the inside contents of their half gallon milk/juice carton after it drops approximately 50 feet off the gym roof. Inside the carton are two raw eggs and other materials students choose to protect the eggs.

Students will write an inquiry report about what materials they used and why they were selected. They will also write concluding observations and results after the drop.

Learning Goals

This activity is designed to develop critical thinking skills. Can students control the impact area on the carton when it hits the ground? This activity will also involve building a model along with writing questions, observations, and results.
Students will gain an understanding as to how mass and density can affect the speed of a falling object, as well as, how mass and density can effect impact.
Words to review and/or learn: gravity, density, mass, speed, hypothesis, control and variable factors

Context for Use

The egg drop can be performed in grades 6-8 with a class size of 25 students. After a day of classroom introduction to the assignment, students will begin individual investigations and designing their carton at home. (allow one week for design from the assignment introduction) The actual egg drop is an outdoor field lab that can be completed in a 45 minute class period. Observations, results, and formulating conclusions can be completed on the next day. This is a very good activity to introduce science at the beginning of a school year or to end a school year. The egg drop involves a wide range of science topics with many possible solutions/outcomes for success and/or failure. It is science, and the students still have fun and are learning. For this reason, it is very easy to adapt into other settings.

Subject: Physics:Classical Mechanics
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8)

Description and Teaching Materials

The lesson can be introduced by explaining that science can have many solutions to the same question. Different people can achieve the same results, but achieving it in different ways.

Materials needed: half gallon milk/juice carton, 2 raw eggs

Students will design a way in which two RAW eggs can be placed inside a half gallon carton and survive a 50' drop off the gym roof onto the ground. Students can put any additional materials INSIDE the carton with the two eggs. The carton cannot be cut or punctured or taped. (exception–the top lid of the carton may be taped shut)

Students will make observations of their carton to predict if their design ideas will be successful.

After the drop, students will evaluate their observations and results to make conclusions.

Teaching Notes and Tips

1. Carton cannot be cut, punctured, taped, or have any objects hanging outside of it.
2. Eggs must be raw. Freezing eggs is not allowed.
3. Secure another staff person or custodian to drop the eggs off the roof. This person should announce whose carton is being dropped so the student can make observations.
4. Drop area should be on pavement, but a grass landing will work, too.
5. Have an area where students can open and analyze the results. (break or not break)
6. Have a good sized garbage bag/can to clean up.

This activity can also be done using one egg. Obviously using two eggs increases the difficulty of protecting the eggs.

Assessment

Students will hand in a 2-3 page egg drop report. This report will include the model design of the carton along with reasons and ideas. The report will include carton drop observations, results, conclusions, and further investigations.

Standards

6.I.B1-2 Scientific inquiry to understand the natural world
7.I.B1-4 Designing scientific investigations
8.I.B.1-2 Understanding inquiry in systematic ways

References and Resources

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