Recently, a bunch of kids were dropping eggs of a second-story balcony at Florida Keys Community College. No, they’re not delinquents. Rather they are gifted students from three area elementary schools, ranging from kindergarteners to sixth graders. Their job was to design two egg-landing aircraft — one conventional and one original. The raw eggs had to be able to withstand the 20-foot drop.
“It is not easy to drop an egg without breaking it,” said 9-year-old Norman Bruein IV from Gerald Adams Elementary School. “I changed my parachute design a few times to see what worked.”
The students come from Horace O’Bryant, Gerald Adams and Poinciana and miss one class every week (assignments must be made up later) to participate in the gifted program.
“Parents provide transportation and students are accountable for what they missed,” said teacher Katrina Madok. “Students learn something new, beyond the curriculum — like the egg drop experiment.”
Students built two egg-landing devices. The first used prescribed materials. The second was made at home using supplies found around the house. Both were intended to help students utilize their STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] skills.
The students learned about eggs, the composition and anatomy. They learned about shark eggs, ostrich eggs, different circumferences, if the egg floats in fresh or salt water and the weight. The subject matter of the lessons was tailored to suit the students’ grade level.
Then the young engineers created their transporters. Students used newspaper, string, paper and plastic and other items to create their landing craft, however the main objective was to design an effective parachute.
“I am trying to make my egg glide better with the cuts I put on the newspaper parachute so it would hit the ground gently,” said 10-year-old Vivian Carper from Gerald Adams whose egg landed unharmed.
Students made a second aircraft at home with whatever materials they wanted. Ja’Khai Blake, 10, from HOB, concentrated on the cushion.
“I put a bunch of bubble wrap and cotton balls in a box with the egg so it will have a cushioned landing,” said Blake, who also was the only other student in the class to have his egg land untouched.
After the egg drop was done and children helped clean up the mess, the pupils went to Madok’s class to complete a lab report detailing the experiment results.