In this lesson, students put on their engineering hats as we sent them off to their challenge to build a contraption that would keep their egg safe as they dropped it from 15 feet. We introduced the lesson talking about a real life situation where we would need to protect a device from an intense fall, in Mars. Humans have been studying space for hundreds of years but it hasn’t been until recent decades that we have actually made it into space. As humans, our curiosity has been so great as to actually populate the neighboring planet of Mars with robots! Our interest in Mars lies in our desire to know if we can live there, is there enough water to support life, or are there resources that we can use or other discoveries that may arise. So, the question is what is out there? To answer this, engineers try to find out how to best answer these questions and they do so by building robots made specifically with gadgets that help us know what is out there. But how do we get these robots to Mars without them breaking up into little pieces as they land? Engineers have to come up with ways using the current knowledge, materials, and taking into consideration a budget.
For the activity, students put on their engineering caps and got to work! In teams, they had to write out a plan and stay within a budget to build their egg contraption. They had to discuss the materials they would need as a group, and build the best contraption while using the least amount of their budget. Once they where done planning and building, we were off to the gymnasium to see their devices in action! Students had a lot of fun watching their experiments work (or fail) but it was a great learning experience to see which ones worked and why. For the ones that didn’t survive, students learned what they could do differently to have a successful egg drop. Students are encouraged to try this experiment at home and drop their devices with the help of a guardian.