Students take a crack at egg experiment

Elizabeth Apollonio, Student

Nomads, Vikings, and balloons: not a historically accurate combination, but one that has happened nonetheless.

In the Mathematics, Engineering, and Psychology building at Northern Kentucky University, rooms 137 and 152 are abuzz with children ages 6 to 14 using newspaper, plastic bags, and balloons to prepare eggs for a six-foot drop. The activity, part of a summer camp hosted by the university’s Early Childhood Center, takes place during the Imagine, Plan, Create week.

“Their goal is to design something – we give them a challenge, they design it, they plan it, they create it, then they redo it if they need to, making modifications as much as they need to,” said Audrey Wilson, program director and lead teacher in the regular preschool classroom at the center. “The egg drop is just a fun way to use that engineering design process.”

The program also emphasizes a need for younger children to develop a sense of independence. “It’s something we want all kids to develop — a sense of just being able to do different things and being competent and being able to support themselves, so that is one of our main goals: having them make their own choices and enjoy it and have fun while they’re here,” Wilson said.

A trip into the classrooms revealed a few different strategies toward preparation for the drop. “We’re, like, padding up the [plastic] bag, then we’re gonna stick it in [Styrofoam cups] and tape it up… around it, then put it in another [grocery] bag,” said one student, who sported a Sombrero as he and his partner cut lengths of masking tape. “Padding is key.”

“We’re gonna use the bag as a parachute, so that it falls slower,” said another student, holding up the bag to demonstrate. “And then we stuck the egg in this (plastic) bag and stuffed it with newspaper so that it would have a little extra cushion.”

Other successful designs included a folded newspaper with balloons attached to the corners with the egg tucked into a cup taped to the paper and a simple design of the egg in a plastic bag with five balloons taped to it, allowing a pillow of air and latex to protect the egg from the linoleum floor. Some students, however, ended up with a bag of yolk. “It’s okay,” student Lexi said when she was handed back her cracked egg after an unsuccessful drop. “I’ll just try again.”