An Egg-Citing Engineering Project

An Egg-Citing Engineering Project for Sixth Graders

Creative Minds, a sixth grade elective at Wantagh Middle School, is filled with hands-on challenges that teach students about the engineering design process. Recently, students had to build a car that could keep on egg from breaking as it traveled down a ramp.

Teacher Nancy O’Connor said that the activity was part of the safety and transportation unit. Over several classes, students worked in pairs to design and build their cars. Like real engineers, they first brainstormed ideas, then sketched a plan. They constructed their cars from materials such as wooden sticks, pieces of foam, packing peanuts, cotton balls and more. Each group received the same base and two sets of wheels, but it was up to them to design the rest of the car to protect the egg.

On race day, students sent their cars down the eight-foot ramp. After each round, the angle of the ramp increased until it was almost perpendicular to the floor. That increased the force of impact with each drop, and a lot of eggs were lost in the later rounds. 

“I learned a lot about how to protect the egg,” said Robbie Fenn, whose egg survived the entire competition. He said they key to success was a lot of cushioning on the top and sides to keep the egg firmly in place.

Ms. O’Connor added that the Creative Minds class focuses on innovation and problem-solving through collaborative projects.