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9th Annual Egg Drop Challenge for Stacy Science Club

Sixth-grade Stacy Elementary School students (l-r) Page Oliveri, Stephanie Goulet, and Stephanie Wong from Team Steve Jobs each sign the infamous "Ostrich Egg Trophy" for successfully engineering a device able to keep a raw egg from breaking after dropping it for a four-story stairwell.

For the past nine years, one of the most coveted awards a student could receive at Stacy Middle School was the honor of signing your name to the infamous "Ostrich Egg Trophy."

In order to receive that privilege, the student had to be inventive and to "think-outside-of-the-box." ... or rather think "inside" a box... one that could keep a raw egg from breaking when it dropped from a four-story stairwell.

The trophy made its appearance again on January 11 after the final round of the Science Club's annual "Egg Drop Challenge."

For the past six weeks, over 130 Stacy students involved in the Science Club worked in teams of three or more to engineer and construct a device that would protect a raw chicken egg from breaking when it was dropped from progressively greater heights.

The teams started the challenge by choosing a team name that was based on a famous scientist or engineer. Teams did research on their chosen scientist and presented a brief biography to the club and were also tasked with preparing a written design plan and labeled drawing of their device which described how elements of their design was intended to protect the egg.

The actual "egg drop" of the "Egg Drop Challenge" was broken up over a few different weeks in December and January, with 24 teams in total participating.

The challenge started with an egg being placed into the team's device, then carried up the school's central staircase and dropped to the floor below. Teams would move further up the staircase as their device successfully made it to the ground with the egg still intact. Each team had one "do-over" if their egg broke, allowing them to modify their design on the fly.

Foam, plastic bags, material, cardboard, and cotton balls were just some of the materials used to construct the inventive devices used to carry the eggs safely to the ground, even from the 4th floor landing. As the rounds continued, the excitement grew with each team trying to win the coveted prize of being able to sign their name to the official "Ostrich Egg" trophy, as well as winning bragging rights.

Thirteen teams qualified this year to sign the trophy, and for the "Caroline Herschel" team, signing the trophy was just one part of the excitement. "The best part was the thrill of waiting for your egg to come down to see if it stayed whole," said fifth-grader Emma Tredeau, one of the members of the team which also included 6th graders Maren Halpin, Alexia Barreto, and Carly Haley. "The anticipation was really exciting," she said.

Stacy fifth grade Science Teacher and Science Club Advisor Dr. Robert Gilmore said that this is a popular event for the students for many reasons. "They love the challenge, and are able to become more confident in the engineering and design process," said Gilmore.

And the significance of the ostrich egg? "It was just a fun way to immortalize their accomplishment," said Gilmore. "I have students, even high school students, that come back years later to my classroom to find their name on the egg and remember what they achieved," he said.

The Science Club meets after school on Mondays from September through April. Along with the Egg Drop Challenge, this year club members will be learning about different scientific topics through conducting experiments and hearing from guest speakers.


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