The crowd gasps in horror as the sickening sound of whirring plastic increases and the Earth rushes up faster and faster.
Impact. And a soft moan escapes from the amassed students behind Frelinghuysen Middle School. First responders look on as Supervisor of Instruction World Language/Science Edward Cohen moves to check on the "man down."
In this case, the packaging made all the difference. The egg inside is unharmed. As a polite round of applause breaks out, the Morris Township Fire Department resets for another "egg drop."
Monday morning at FHS featured the penultimate step in the "Eggcraft Drop," a STEM (science, technology,
engineering and math) experiment for eighth grade students in the Morris School District.
According to Cohen, teams of students have been working collaboratively for weeks to
design and build a one-foot by one-foot package that will safely deliver an egg
from heights of eight, 20, 50, and 75 feet. By
having four different heights for the drops, students must consider how to
increase drag (critical to egg survival) when their package is dropped from
higher heights, how to design effective crumple zones that will protect the egg
during drops from all heights, and how to create a package that will remain
structurally sound through drops at subsequently higher heights. Eggs must be safely removed from container
within 15 seconds of landing.
"At eight feet, the parachutes didn't work out too well," Cohen said. "They really needed good padding and packaging in order for the egg to survive."
According to Cohen, the second phase at 20 feet required the assistance of the custodial staff, but for the big drop, they enlisted the help of Morris Township Fire Department.
"We almost immediately went straight to the 75 foot drop because all of the eggs were surviving at 50 feet," Cohen said. "I told the fire department next year we're going to go for 100 feet."
Extending themselves out on the ladder, the firemen launched each egg package into space and let gravity do the rest (see the video attached to this post).
"We really can't thank them enough for doing this," Cohen said. "It really was a community supported event."
Part of that support came from the restaurant End of Elm, where all the eggs used in the experiment came from.
The final part of project, fittingly, will take place back in the classroom. Based off of recorded times of the drops and the application of their experiential education, the students will craft a justification for their work.
"They are going to justify why or why not their projects worked using physics," Cohen said. "Even our most reluctant writers can write paragraphs on this."