Kids love a good joke, so try this one:
How do monsters like their eggs? (terri-fried)
They will giggle and want to hear more! Kids also love any experiment or structure challenge that involves eggs. And I have several!
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The first time we tried a STEM Challenge using an egg the students were so excited. This led to the invention of several more challenges for all ages! I am sharing four of our Egg Events!
- Egg Cars
- Egg Towers
- Egg Parachutes
- The Egg Drop Ride
These work with all upper elementary age groups and I will also share what grades I have tried. And there are tips sprinkled throughout the post to help you with your “eggs-travaganza”!
This event was created for my third graders. They had noticed the STEM Lab agenda and the older students were completing egg events. Of course, they wanted something with eggs, too!
So, we tried Egg Cars.
The idea is to build a car that will carry an egg down a ramp. Trust me, building a car is challenging for third graders! We always struggle a little with those axles and wheels.
TIP: For my younger students I take away the hardest part of the car challenge. I cut out their wheels. I discovered a long time ago that having third graders cutting cardboard is just so hard. They have a lot of trouble with using scissors to cut out a circle, so I cut out all the wheels. When this challenge is over I collect all those wheels and place them in a large zippered bag. Yes, we re-use them!
TIP: Have a plastic car on hand to show students where the axle of a car is placed on the car body. This makes so much more sense to them when they can see it working before they try to build it.
One of my favorite parts of this challenge is seeing how the students decorate their little egg cars. This one has headlights!
TIP: I know you noticed that the egg in one of the photos is a plastic egg. I always buy a supply of these around Easter time, but if you need them at a different time of year try these – (Just click on the image).
I place 22-23 pennies inside the egg and then run a piece of masking tape around the opening to help it stay closed. The plastic egg will crack if it hits the floor and we patch those cracks with more tape. (The pennies weigh about the same amount as a real egg.)
Do we ever use a real egg? Keep reading!
This challenge is our 4th-grade egg event. It seems like such a simple challenge, but it is more difficult than you would think! It’s the Fabulous Egg Tower!
The idea with the egg tower is to build a tall structure that will hold an egg at the top. One of the rules of this task was that the tower could be taped to the table. Notice in the photo above that the team built the tower on the floor and then taped it to the table with a side anchor! Very clever! I changed the rule after that.
Last year we changed this challenge a little. Instead of using newspaper for the tower we used a heavyweight brown paper. A lot of out structures resembled platforms more than towers and they were not as tall. Still, the weight of the egg was a factor in creating a sound structure.
TIP: When do we use a real egg? We always test with an empty plastic egg first. This lets the students know that the egg will fit wherever it is they are going to place it. Then we use a weighted plastic egg. If the structure works with the heavier egg then they can try a real egg. But there is more about those eggs! Keep reading!
This is our fifth-grade challenge! It involves many steps to get to the point we drop a real egg from a very great height! It’s a variation of an egg drop that uses a parachute. The Great Egg Parachute Challenge!
This challenge is one I usually complete with larger teams. One half of the team builds the carrier for the egg and must focus on making the egg safe. The other half of the team creates the parachute.
TIP: Make sure students know that the strings around the edge of the parachute need to be the same length. You might also want to talk about the shape of a parachute. I usually show some Google images before we get started.
After finishing the egg carrier the next step is to attach the parachute to it and then drop it. First with an empty plastic egg and if the carrier works, they try a weighted egg. For the real egg test, I climb to the top of a 20-foot ladder and drop the parachute!
TIP: Finally, here’s the best tip ever about eggs! Place the real egg in a zippered bag before students use it for any of these challenges. If it hits the ground and breaks you will have no mess to clean up. Just throw away the bag!
The Egg Drop Ride
This last egg event is a unique challenge that requires the use of a pole. We use a 5-foot long PVC pipe, but a broomstick will also work great! I call this one an Egg Drop Ride!
The idea for this challenge is to create a device that will slide down the pole and land softly enough to keep the egg from breaking. We test this one with an empty egg or a ping-pong ball. If the cups holding the egg land softly we try a weighted egg. This always brings groans. That heavier weighted plastic egg will land much harder than the empty one. Here’s a quick video showing a drop that works- with a ping pong ball!
Students have to re-think their braking system and redesign to get this one to work. It is a challenge I have used with only 5th graders.
Don’t be scared of trying these fun challenges! They are challenging and full of learning! I have listed them in the order of ability level, so start with the easier ones.