Sunday, April 8, 2012

Egg Drop...Hold the Soup!

Thursday was an exciting day for the second graders at Cheerful School.  Yes, it was the day for the Egg Drop!  An egg drop in case you aren't familiar with it is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project.  For our egg drop project, the second grade students had to design a container to hold and protect a raw chicken's egg from breaking.  The containers were tossed off the roof of our one story school and on to the asphalt playground by a very brave guidance counselor, a courageous instructional coach and a hard working parent volunteer.  (Note:  Mrs. Gumby was NOT on the roof.  I am afraid of heights!  Ugh, ugh, ugh!)  Other parent volunteers opened the containers after the toss to see if the egg inside was unbroken, cracked but still intact or "scrambled" while another volunteer recorded the data. 

Here's a Teacher Tube video clip of a similar egg drop at a school.  This is not my school. However, it is a great way to demonstrate an egg drop.

Egg Drop Video on Teacher Tube  

The students were required to make their egg drop container at home with their families. The containers could be no larger than one foot wide by one foot tall.  Plus, the containers had to be disposable after the conclusion of the egg drop.

However, it's difficult for our ESL parents to understand long or involved directions in English, especially when they're written in idiomatic language.  After talking it over with my student Happy Girl, I decided to make the egg drop container an in-school ESL class project.  Happy Girl and I read over the directions and highlighted important words.  We talked about raw eggs and what we could use for the container.  We brainstormed ideas on how to cushion the egg.  I also rummaged around in my cabinets and found a small box, styrofoam and felt.  I knew I had some air cushion packing pillows from a recent shipment of hockey safety equipment at home and promised to bring the pillows in to school.

Knowing Mrs. Pokey's two tutor level students might need help as well, I emailed her at her other school and updated her on the project.  She thought it was a great idea and promised to look through her craft items at home for additional materials.  On Monday, we combined our materials and students and started to work.  At the end of the period, all three students had a student designed container for the egg drop.  As we worked, we encouraged our students to talk about their designs and containers.  It was a great way to facilitate authentic conversation and vocabulary! 

Finally, the great day arrived!  On Thursday afternoon, all of the second graders had to announce to the others how they designed their egg drop container.  After the explanation, one of the brave folks on the roof of the school tossed the child's container from the roof!  Some containers shattered, others exploded on impact while still others floated down gently via parachute or bounced. 

However, I am happy to report that all three of our English Language Learners were sucessful with their egg drop containers.  Three unbroken eggs!  Three unbroken eggs and three very very very proud young "engineers"!  Hurrah!