Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Egg drop madness again!

About a year ago, I posted about our camp project, egg drop madness.

The project goal: protect your egg, aka: what I tell the kids " your baby, don't let your baby break" (Sometimes they crack the egg before it even gets up in the air)

Protect the egg from what? gravity. We dropped the eggs from three stories high to their possible doom.

How to protect the eggs? designated materials.

Really when we started this project, no one really knew what they were doing. We were kind of like ostriches trying to teach chickens how to fly.

To begin with, we split the students into groups of four or five. We gave them designated materials. Originally we weren't set on what the materials should be so we began with ziplock bags. Turns out, ziplock bags don't make awesome parachutes. So the next time you are jumping out of a plane for skydiving, right before you make the plunge, you should double check that your parachute isn't a flimsy ziplock bag.

After multiple bullet-like eggs, screaming obscenities at the stupidness of their instructors on their way down to their inevitable doom, smashed into what can only be referred to as scramble smithereens, we came up with a new idea; Trash bags.

Really great idea, except that we gave each group their own trash bag. It worked a little too well in fact. NO EGGS died in this experiment. Now, it isn't like I wanted my kids to fail. But who feels good after they aced a test by cheating. Not many people. Well... not many people with self respect. And basically they couldn't fail.

So we moved on to newspaper. Newspaper was really a perfect alternative. It works well when used correctly, but allows for more of a challenge.

Other materials we provided:
balloons (for confusion)
paper cups
paper clips

Balloons can actually help but they don't cause air resistance like the kids think it will.

It was really a great class. We did a little bit of teaching and a LOT of observing the kids try and make their contraptions to protect their egg. I like the observing part. My voice especially is extremely grateful. Dropping the eggs off the roof was a blast and everyone enjoyed it regardless of whether their egg lived through the traumatic ordeal or not.

So when we were given the chance to give suggestions for this years camp at my newest school, I of course offered up the option of egg drop, but with added challenges. We offer a larger selection of goods to make their egg drop, except this time, they can only pick ten things.

The materials we use now:
paper cup
rubber bands
tape (4-5 inches per piece)
paper plates
trash bag (cut into 8ths)
paper clips

I have even toyed with the idea of giving them monopoly money and making them pay for each item, making the better materials more expensive. Either way, they have to think harder about the design before making it, and they are never allowed to exchange. The best inventions are made out of resourcefulness.

Its a super class and any teachers and/or esl teachers out there, I recommend this to everyone.

Here is the video I made for the kids to see some examples of egg drops. It isn't great filming, but it does the job and is a little entertaining. Enjoy!


The Houstons said...

Signs say...YES come to Europe and spend a lil' time with the Houstons in Germany! ;)

Sherilin Riley said...

i like it! i'm a homeschooling mom & already my brain is whirling with ideas of dropping eggs out the upstairs windows. hmm....
thanks for the fun idea!

Vanessa Rogers said...

In my opinion, higher is better. If you can get to the roof, that would be even more of a challenge :)