Monday, May 2, 2011

Apollo Astronaut Egg Drop

Today the companies were given the task of designing and constructing protective capsules capable of safely landing their "Apollo astronauts" (eggs) back on earth (or the tile flooring in the Tech Lab) when falling from the upper atmosphere (or dropped from the top a ladder).

Each team was given a raw egg to protect, and added their astronaut's face onto the egg with a Sharpie marker. The teams were provided with packaging materials and a pre-cut plastic two-liter soda bottle (for their capsule). Then the teams set to work preparing and lining the inside of their capsule with enough insulation to protect their egg astronaut from the impact of an 8-foot drop.

The students were also asked to write their prediction of the outcome of the drop and explain their thinking for the prediction. Every group predicted their egg would have a safe landing because of the materials they used in the insulation of the capsule.

The Engineers:

Materials used: Foam star stickers, for decoration; craft foam sheets to line the inside of the capsule and keep the egg safe; small cloth tote bag, to protect the egg; Styrofoam packing peanuts to protect the egg and catching air; plastic straws to catch added air for insulation; duct tape, to keep it all together; yarn, used to attach the parachute to the capsule; felt fabric sheets, used to create a parachute to attach to the capsule; and air pillows, to protect the egg.

The Engineers protected their astronaut egg by wrapping the egg in a felt sheet, then stuffing the wrapped egg inside a small cloth tote bag to keep the egg snug. After lining the inside of the capsule with craft foam sheets they put the egg inside the capsule stuffing foam peanuts and straws inside the capsule, taped the capsule closed, decorated the outside of the capsule, wrapped air pillows around the outside of the capsule, constructed a parachute from felt sheets, and used yarn to attach the parachute to the capsule.

They predicted that their egg was going to land safely, and said they were 95% sure of this. Their prediction turned out to be correct. Their egg was very well protected inside of layers of insulation.
Engineer John trying to hold the stuffed capsule
together as another member of the Engineers
goes to get the Gorilla tape.
Engineer Lily proudly holding their egg capsule
complete with air bags and a cloth parachute.

The Victorians:

Materials used: Cotton balls, for the comfort of Jeff (their astronaut); Styrofoam peanuts, for Jeff's protection; felt sheets, for comfort and protection; plastic Easter egg, to contain Jeff; paper clips, for added weight; air pillows, for a safe landing; plastic grocery bag, for a parachute; and duct tape, to hold everything.

The Victorians began by wrapping felt sheets around the inside bottom of their capsule, then stuffing cotton balls inside the bottom half of the capsule. They put Jeff, their egg, inside a small plastic Easter egg, leaving his face peeking out the middle, and also because he would not fit all the way inside the plastic egg. Then they crushed up Styrofoam peanuts and filled the inside of the capsule, making sure they fill every available space with the crushed Styrofoam. Next they taped and sealed the capsule closed, wrapped the air pillows around the outside of the capsule, and added their parachute made from a plastic grocery bag.

They hypothesized that Jeff the egg would survive because he was very well protected, and wished him luck. Jeff was well insulated and so survived the impact after being dropped 8 feet from the top of a ladder.

Markella and Kennedy stuff crushed Styrofoam
inside every possible spot in their capsule.
The Victorians showing off their cushioned Apollo
Egg Drop capsule with parachute.

Leonardo's Assistants:

Materials used: Plastic bottle for the capsule; Styrofoam peanuts, for protection; 1 raw egg, as  the astronaut; tape, to hold it all together; a plastic bag to slow the fall and act as a parachute; yarn, to hold the bag to the bottle; and felt sheets, for protection.

Leonardo's Assistants assembled their space capsule by putting the Styrofoam peanuts and felt sheets inside the bottle halves, adding the egg inside, and then taping the bottle together with Gorilla tape. Next they created a parachute with yarn pieces and a plastic grocery bag, securing it to the bottle, then wrapped felt sheets around the outside of the bottle.

They predicted that their egg would live because of their protection and the resistance from the bag.
Their prediction of the surviving egg was accurate. (No egg "juice" here!)

Ben proudly showing the Assistants
space capsule design.
Ben, Tyler, and Jayden stuffing Styrofoam peanuts
inside their space capsule.

Black Ops Brothers:

Materials used: tape, to hold it all together; piece of cardboard, to provide a large bouncy base of the space capsule to land on; felt sheets, for protection; plastic drinking straws, to hold up the parachute, air bags, for protection, and plastic Easter eggs for material and style.

B.O.B.'s constructed their space capsule by adding the raw egg slightly inside a smaller plastic Easter egg, stuffing felt sheets inside the bottle halves for cushion, and placing the egg inside the bottle before taping it shut with Gorilla tape. Airbags were then wrapped around the bottle with a cardboard piece added to the bottom of the capsule for a wide base to land on. Extra airbags were added to the bottom of the capsule providing a bumper to cushion the impact. A parachute was constructed from drinking straws and a piece of felt fabric.

The company predicted that the egg would not break because it would be such a soft landing. Their wide base bumper design worked. Their egg survived the landing.

Jack and Eric stuffing felt sheets inside the
capsule of cushion.
Black Ops Brothers' wide base bumper design
showing the air cushions under the base and a
small parachute on top.

Science and Technology:
Materials used: Styrofoam "icemers", to cushion the fall; felt sheets, to protect the egg; plastic Easter egg, to hold the egg; plastic straws, to hold up the yellow cloth (more felt); yellow cloth (felt), to act as a parachute, to slow the capsule down as it fell.

The "S.a.T." Team formulated their space capsule inside by putting styrofoam into the bottle, inserting their brave egg astronaut inside a plastic Easter egg - being careful to tape around the edges of the two eggs to hold their astronaut safely inside the outer plastic egg. Then for added protection, they wrapped the egg inside a sheet of felt, and carefully nestled the wrapped egg into the styrofoam in the bottle. For even more protection in the top half of the bottle, they stuffed more felt sheets. Then they used Gorilla tape to secure the two halves of the two-liter bottle together, then removed the bottle's cap for a place to hold their straws. Then they fashioned a parachute out of another sheet of felt and attached the felt sheet to the straws sticking out of the bottle to create a parachute.

They made an educated guess that the egg wouldn't break because of all the soft cushion they used inside the capsule. Their educated guess paid off; their brave little astronaut egg landed in one piece.

Science and Technology Team give their capsule
the thumbs up, all systems set to go!
It was a good day for all teams as all eggs safely landed in the drop zone in the Technology Lab, despite repeated chants to see some spilled "egg juice" from the crowd.


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