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The Great Egg Drop (Not So Easy)

This egg-speriment will challenge you to come up with a way to cushion (or protect) a raw egg placed inside a container, so that when the container is dropped, the egg won't break. Best to do it outside too! It's also great to do it as a contest with a friend… or with everyone in your class at school!

Question: What kind of device will prevent an egg from breaking when dropped?

Materials:

  • Adult helper (who also can be the judge)
  • A clock or timer
  • 1 or 2 raw eggs (no hard-cooked or pickled one!)
  • Your thinking cap
  • A container that:
    • has a volume not greater than 500 mL (2 cups) - that's about as much liquid as almost 3 drinking boxes. (To test this, you may want to see if it takes no more than 500 mL of something like salt or sand to completely fill it.)
    • has no cushioning material on the outside of it.
    • cannot in any way be impeded in its fall from the specified height, ie. no parachutes, suspension lines, etc.
    • has a liquid proof seal around the outside (to prevent spilling).
  • Cushioning material (goes inside the container) must:
  • surround the egg but cannot be attached to it).
  • be placed so that the egg can be easily removed for inspection.

Suggestion:

Examples of container and cushioning materials - styrofoam, bubble wrap, toothpicks, textiles, cardboard, balloons. Be creative!

Note:

You will also need a safe, high place outside (such as from a porch or out a window - be sure no one could be hit by these dropping eggs!). Where to drop the eggs? a four meter height is ideal.

Procedure:

  1. Set the timer for 30, 45 or 60 minutes - whatever you want.
  2. Build a container.
  3. Place cushioning material for egg inside the container, making sure you leave room for the egg!
  4. Put egg in the container.
  5. Seal the container.
  6. Drop the container - from the desired height at the location decided upon.
  7. Open the container and inspect the egg.
  8. If the egg broke, try using a different cushioning material or container.
  9. Note the results of which container and cushioning material worked the best!

What Happened - and Why?

Different containers and materials protect the egg in different ways. Which container proved to keep the egg intact? Why?