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Teaching Engineering Design with an Egg Drop

Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2-3 students
Active Time
3-4 hours
Total Time
3-4 hours
Area of Science
Mechanical Engineering
Key Concepts
force, energy, engineering design
Learning Objectives
  • Do background research, brainstorm, and prototype an egg drop design
  • Iteratively test and improve the design
  • Communicate information about the design process
egg drop project lesson plan

Overview

The egg drop project is a time-honored tradition in many science classrooms. Students build a device to protect an egg and prevent it from breaking when dropped. This project typically relates to lessons about Newton's laws of motion or potential and kinetic energy. However, it is also a great way for students to practice the engineering design process, and learn about the importance of design iteration and learning from failure.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria.
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions. A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.
Structure and Function. Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials


Assorted materials for egg drop lesson plan project
  • Assorted craft, packing, and recyclable materials: cardboard, egg cartons, cotton balls, straws, pipe cleaners, wooden skewers, rubber bands, etc.
  • Optional: materials to make parachutes (e.g. plastic bag and strings). You can decide whether or not parachutes are allowed.
  • Raw eggs
  • Recommended: "dummy" eggs for testing, like plastic Easter eggs, hard-boiled eggs, or chocolate candy eggs. These will help reduce the mess and necessary cleanup as students test their designs.
  • High location to drop eggs from (bleachers, playground equipment, etc.)
  • Paper towels for cleanup

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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2-3 students
Active Time
3-4 hours
Total Time
3-4 hours
Area of Science
Mechanical Engineering
Key Concepts
force, energy, engineering design
Learning Objectives
  • Do background research, brainstorm, and prototype an egg drop design
  • Iteratively test and improve the design
  • Communicate information about the design process

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