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Shepard students learn sound designs in egg drop contest

Shepard High School physics student GenCesario Palos Heights teacher Brian Sievers check well-being her egg after she dropped it from

Shepard High School physics student Gena Cesario, of Palos Heights, and teacher Brian Sievers check on the well-being of her egg after she dropped it from the top of the football stadium bleachers. | Supplied Photo

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Updated: January 31, 2013 6:03AM



Dropping eggs from the top of the football stadium bleachers at Shepard High School, most students didn’t need to see whether their cargo arrived safely below. The sound provided all the information they needed.

One at a time, students dropped eggs in paper baskets, cushioned with cotton balls and other material and attached to parachutes or balloons, 25 feet to the pavement below.

Some smacked the ground with a stark “crunch” or “splat,” while others floated easily through the fall air and landed softly. Criteria affecting their grade included egg survival, accuracy in hitting a large target on the pavement and the mass of their transport.

“Larger mass would result in a lower grade,” physics teacher Brian Sievers said. “So there was a small penalty for using extra material in construction.”

Based on the smiles and laughter, students enjoyed the project. But they learned, too.

“The unit featured physics principles like momentum-impulse theorem, where an impulse is a force applied over a period of time,” Sievers said. “If students could soften the impact by lengthening the time of impact, it would increase the survival rate of the egg.”

Students also learned about free fall, vertical motion, and drag.

“Since the object was in free fall, it showed students how air resistance affected how the device would drop,” Sievers said.

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