Spring brings an annual rite of passage for many Shawnee Mission fifth graders: The hurling of small orbs of cholesterol and protein from great heights to test the engineering prowess of students charged with keeping the innards of an egg safely within their thin shells.
Back in my day, you launched your egg-protecting contraption from the roof of the gymnasium — a relatively modest drop of 20 feet or so. But this is 2015! Kids have iPads! It’s time to take the egg drop to the next level, as well! So on Monday, Crestview fifth graders walked in teams of three to an Overland Park Fire Department ladder truck, got strapped into safety belts, and were lifted high above the playground to toss their egg contraptions over the side to the delight of their classmates and parents crowded below.
Some, like the first one launched over the ladder bucket’s side, were straightforward affairs, boxes packed tightly with cushy insulation in hopes of absorbing the force of the impact when they struck the ground at great speed. Others, like this one put together by Muriel, were visual masterpieces (this one kind of reminded me of the Mars Exploration Rover):
But the most successful students took advantage of the cushioning power of air resistance, with contraptions that let their eggs gently float to the ground as opposed to striking it with great speed. Take, for example, Brandon Fanning, who took two sponges, cut small holes in them to accommodate the egg, and then fused them together with two efficient wraps of duct tape:
The yellow mass glided to the ground and landed with a practically inaudible dud. And when Brandon’s father, Crestview fifth grade teacher Michael Fanning, unwrapped the tape, there was Brandon’s egg, fully intact and ready to be cracked over the frying pan:
Fourth graders take note: Air resistance. It’s all about air resistance.