This project was conducted during the momentum unit. An object has momentum when it is moving (velocity). The students used the concept: change in momentum is equal to the impulse exerted to cause the change in momentum . Δp = J A change in momentum occurs when an object's velocity changes and an impulse is a force exerted over a period of time (which causes the object's change in momentum).
The students designed an egg case that was dropped from the bleachers at Haskell Field. By adhering to the parameters (approximately same mass and same aerodynamics), all of the eggs had the same change in momentum. Therefore, they had the same impulse exerted on them when the eggs hit the ground. Impulse is the product of the impact force multiplied by the time interval which the force acts.
After the Egg Drop Activity & Momentum test, the students learned about its application to Real Life: they researched their own car's safety features and how to minimize the chances of an accident and its effect on the people in the car.
The goal of the project was to increase the time of impact for the egg by creating a case for the egg. Since all of the impulses were the same, if the time of impact was increased then the force of impact had to be decreased. Hopefully, the force of impact was small enough to avoid breaking the egg!
The student's assessment was not based on success: egg survival (for most experiments are not successful). Instead, they were graded on their explanation of the experiment, reflection on future designs, and application of the physic's concepts to everyday life. (reflecting what scientists do every day!)
Egg Drop Case Parameters
approximately .5 kg (1 pound)
compact shape: no bigger than 2' x 2' x 2'
no extensions to increase air resistance eg. wings or parachutes