Egg Drop Competition Showcases Students’ Ingenuity

JRE kids discover engineering may not be all it’s cracked up to be

A Julia Randall Elementary student gives a thumbs down signal to indicate his egg did not survive the drop.

A Julia Randall Elementary student gives a thumbs down signal to indicate his egg did not survive the drop. |

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Julia Randall Elementary (JRE) custodian Pete Bazan has watched the annual JRE Egg Drop for the last eight years.

“I get the pleasure of squirting off the eggs that splatter the road,” said Bazan, “but I get help. Tomorrow the birds will clean it up, too. Nothing goes to waste.”

Bazan said he loves this event. He said he has seen kids try to protect eggs by stuffing them into the inside of a baby doll surrounded by cushioning to using a bag of Jell-O to surround an egg.

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Teacher Alan Amman inspects an egg dropping vessel just before releasing it for its three-story journey to the pavement below.

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Alan Ammann tosses an egg off the fifth-grade balcony at the JRE’s 16th Annual Egg Drop competition.

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A JRE student throws his hands up in the agony of defeat after his egg broke.

As Bazan talked, the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students came out to crowd around yellow tape that cordoned off the area eggs would drop to the asphalt of the fire lane.

Interim Superintendent Johnny Ketchem stopped by and stood with teachers and staff amongst the students.

“This event was started years ago to mimic what the Harvard engineering class, does every year,” said Ketchem.

Three stories up from where Ketchem spoke, off of the fifth-grade balcony, teacher Alan Ammann put a bullhorn to his lips.

“Welcome to JRE’s 16th Annual Egg Drop competition,” he said. “Today you will be amazed, dazzled and impressed.”

Egg drops have been part of school science curriculum for years. Numerous engineering universities, elementary and high schools have egg drop competition information on their websites.

The egg drop exercise allows students to explore their creativity and engineering skills.

“How this works today, we will call your name before the egg drops. Once the egg has hit the ground, go to see if it has broken. A thumbs up means the egg survived, a thumbs down means it has not,” said Ammann over the bullhorn.

Diana Fletcher, another fifth-grade teacher and several students readied the eggs wrapped in all sorts of engineered contraptions from complicated straw-built hexagons to something as simple as shoving an egg in a roll of toilet paper for Ammann to drop over the edge.

As egg contraptions floated over the edge before Ammann dropped them, the students below would ooo and ahhh.

Some egg protective gear had parachutes that allowed the egg to float to the ground; others fell with a sickening thud.

With every thumbs up, students and staff roared with approval.

Each thumbs down brought a sigh from the crowd and ended up with a shoulders hunched shuffle to the trash can to throw away the remains of the failed experiment.

One young lady brought a five-gallon Ziplock bag full of bright green Jell-O. When the bag fell to the ground, not only did the egg crack, but also it mixed with bright green Jell-O to spot those who unfortunately sat near the exploded bag.

As the event progressed, the wind picked up.

“The wind will make this fun,” said Bazan. “(The eggs) will drift that way.”

He pointed toward the heaviest part of the crowd, but they did not seem concerned.

It is just all too fun.

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