Nobody likes spilled milk. But the students at Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville don’t like cracked eggs either.
Last week, about 20 fifth- and sixth-grade students participated in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) challenge based on the Angry Birds’ video game. The popular Internet game and smart phone app involves launching birds at pigs who have tried to steal eggs.
The school program tasked teams of students to build a device that would protect an egg once it’s dropped down a flight of stairs.
We’re going to drop some eggs, sixth-grade teacher Chris Comrie told them. But we don’t want them to break. They’re our precious cargo, we have to spare them from the piggies.
Fifth-grade teacher Jason Watts said the school’s STEM challenge helps kids develop creative and critical thinking skills in various scenarios. Previous after-school sessions include a CSI challenge involving fingerprinting and DNA extraction and a challenge to build a World War II Foxhole radio. Watts said the program uses projects that the children can relate to.
It’s an experience-based program where they can interact with the science that they see every day, Watts said.
During the Angry Birds challenge, the students had just as much fun using their analytical skills to develop their egg-protecting devices as they did actually dropping the cradled eggs from the school’s second floor. Students had materials like Styrofoam cups, plastic wrap, boxes, tape and even cereal to build devices to cushion their eggs.
Chris Moore, 10, and Joseph Cates, 12, worked as a team to encase their egg in a layer of plastic wrap and carefully staple the sides of their egg hammock into the center of their box. Before dropping it down the stairwell, the boys tested their device by standing on a chair and dropping it four feet. They didn’t like the yellow egg yolk that seeped out.
Anna Ulery, 10, and her teammate, Savannah Daniel, 11, had a better idea. They surrounded their egg in stacked Styrofoam cups. Anna applied the lessons she had learned from science.
The velocity will hold the middle, she said. It would create a surrounding like a circular tension. The egg can’t move so it won’t break when it falls.
Her theory held up. When the two girls dropped their egg down the stairwell, it did not crack.
Eleven-year-old Vincent Andrade’s team wasn’t so lucky. The cereal and plastic cushion didn’t prevent their egg from breaking. And after spending more than an hour trying to figure out how to protect it, Vincent felt a little personal about the loss.
Oh, Eggbert died, he said.
Photo gallery by John Swistak, Jr. – http://suburbanjournals.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1594380&CategoryID=64770&ListSubAlbums=0