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.