Students Build Electromagnetic Egg Drop Stand

The Egg Drop is a classic way to get students into engineering, fabrication, and experimentation. It’s a challenge to build a container to protect a raw egg from cracking when dropped from various heights.

Here’s a way to add some extra hardware to use when testing each entry. It’s an  electromagnetic drop stand built by several students along with [Tom Jenkins]. The stand doesn’t require anything too exotic, and it allows students to drop their eggs in a controlled manner for a fair competition. Along the way, they learn about circuits, electromagnets, and some other electronic concepts.

If this sounds familiar, it is because it builds on the egg drop project from the Teaching Channel we talked about before. The materials for that lesson have the basic outline of the drop stand, but the video really helps kids visualize it and build it.

This project is especially well-suited for larger classes where you can find something to interest different students. Some will gravitate to the mechanical challenge of keeping the egg from breaking. Some will be interested in the electronics. Others might be interested in keep track of the statistics. For an advanced class, it would be fairly easy to put the test stand under control of an Arduino or another microcontroller.

Getting kids excited about hacking things can lead to life-long careers. At the least, maybe they’ll grow up to write for Hackaday. If you work with kids or you know someone who does, there are many projects on the Teaching Channel’s web site that are realistic for teachers to do with students without breaking the bank on materials or special equipment.

By the way, if you only have an hour with the kids, you can still do an egg drop, but you might have to forego the electronics. There’s still a lot of science and hacking ideas you can communicate even with that simple exercise.

6 thoughts on “Students Build Electromagnetic Egg Drop Stand

      1. The issue is that they used a model from another video (around the 4 minute mark):
        https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/engineering-model-blueprint-challenge-boeing

        In the video, you can see the prototype with a switch labeled ARM/SAFE and the other one labeled DROP. It makes sense that there’s a safety for certain projects, although for this one it’s slightly overkill, and using that type of switch in close proximity is also a safety issue in itself (accidental flicking of both switches is possible).
        Nevertheless, it’s good practice to design overkill than miss crucial elements of safety, which I believe is what the person was subtly trying to teach them.

        1. You are right, the other switch is a safety. Yeah, not necessary, but let’s us talk about switch logic, AND/OR, and — as you say — safety when you have lives (in this case, egg life) at stake.

          I often say… the only difference between chicken salad and egg salad is timing.

  1. Chickens do this every day. Billions! They have to stand up on those drumsticks and drop the egg.
    Why do they call it “laying”!
    Because stand-up would be like too many rubber chicken jokes!
    If you have free range hens, every day is an Easter eggs hunt.

  2. When my daughter was in high school, they did the opposite. The had to *break* an egg with a machine made up of 5 simple machines. I did it with her. It was great fun, and she won a prize. Our machine was the only one that worked each and every time, and with no eggs broken until the machine was activated. Sadly, my younger kids missed out, they went to different schools by then.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s