Rho the Egg Drop Hero

Over 150 middle school students gathered for the egg drop contest.  At 8:00AM, the 6th graders were smiling and their parents were taking pictures when the whistle blew for the contest to begin.  At 8:10AM, the first volunteer stepped forward.

Suzie was a petit dark haired girl with pigtails.  She approached the launch queen (the school principal) and handed over her egg drop container designed by Suzie and her Dad.  Out the 3rd floor window it went and the thud noise left everyone in wonder.  Did the egg inside the container survive?  The bottom left of the container was wet and implied it didn’t.  Suzie picked up her container and the quivering lip brought a quick hug from her Dad.
Egg Drop ContestCredit: pdalgarno, CC, morgueFileNext was Tommy, a skinny little guy with spiked blonde hair and his pants drooping down a bit lower than the belt could support.  His design had a parachute, string, and a basket at the bottom.  One of his friends screams “go, go, go Tommy!”  The principal grinned and out the window Tommy’s container went. Did the egg drop without breaking?  Tommy ran to the landing, picked up his basket, and another disappointment for the crowd.  Tommy whispers “stupid contest” and slouches his shoulders as he walks over to his friends.

Careful Not To Drop The EggCredit: Steve A Johnson, CC by 2.0, FlickrThen approaches Rhondini, her Mom wanted to name her Rhonda and her Dad Houdini, with her container.  Rho, as she is known by her classmates, is one part class clown and one part wild tiger.  Her Girl Scouts fan club starts cheering “Rho! Rho! Rho!” and within 15 seconds all the parents start in too.  Rho approaches the principal with a devilish eye and a smirk on her face.  She knows success is eminent.  She hands a package over to the principal that looks like a Priority Mail box from the Post Office.  No parachute, no balloons strapped to the outside of the box, and no decorative painting on the outside of the box.  Just a Priority Mail box sealed shut.  Box in hand the principal tosses it out the window to a dull thud.  Down the stairs Rho goes running to retrieve her box, opens it, throws a bunch of crumbled newspaper on the ground, then pulls another smaller box, and opens it.  Out emerges a bubble wrapped egg in perfect condition.  Yes!  The bystanders roar with support and Rho holds her Mom’s hand as she holds the egg up high in her other hand towards her principal who’s glancing out the 3rd floor window.  A big thumbs up comes from the principal for the winning egg drop design.

Then the school janitor, Fred, stepped forward and offered to take Rho’s package to the school roof and toss it over the edge.  The principal agreed to the excitement of everyone gathered.  Fred yells “look out below!” and the box fell for what seemed like 20 seconds (more likely was 5-6 seconds).  The box hit with a whack noise and tumbled over 2 to 3 feet.  A big dent in the side of the box didn’t look promising.  Rho opened the outer box, unwrapped everything, and screams like she fell off her bike.  Rho then reaches into to clutter, grabs the egg and holds it proudly for everyone to see.  Success!

The egg drop design that works best is one that uses a hard outer shell to absorb most of the impact.  The newspaper stuffing provided protection for the inner box and the inner box provided protection for the bubble wrapped egg.