Tinkerlab April Challenge
Rachel at a wonderful blog Tinkerlab has a series on creative challenges with various materials. The idea behind the challenge is to present a child with a material and then challenge him or her to create something with it. The important part here is that idea should come from a child, not from a parent. The theme for April creative challenge is Eggs. Our conversation about this challenge developed like this:
- Me: Would you like to make anything with eggs – real or plastic?
- Smarty: Can it be an early Easter hunt?
- Me: Umm… no. Something that requires more thought.
- Smarty: No. I don’t want to do anything with eggs. We already have enough painted eggs to decorate the whole house!
- Me: How about an engineering challenge then? Using any kind of materials from our recycle bin, design a way to prevent an egg from breaking when it is dropped from different heights.
- Smarty: Jumping up and down. Yes! Yes! Engineering challenge! Yesss!
Creative Challenge Setup
Since the weather was nice on Friday, we moved our challenge outside. Smarty had access to our recycling bin, a carton of eggs, scissors and a role of tape (her favorite craft material!). She was so stoked that she designed not one, but three (!) ways to protect an egg.
Option 1 - a Plastic Container
Her first idea of using cardboard tubes didn’t work…
… She found a small plastic container and packed it with a bubble wrap and cotton balls.
She made sure that the lid fit tight. In the hindsight, she should have checked that her egg were really snug in its nest of bubble wrap…
First test of dropping an egg from her height was quite successful – an egg stayed in one piece!
Option 2 – A Soft Double Layer
She kept thinking of some sort of harness for an egg, but the idea with toothpicks didn’t get anywhere.
Instead she wrapped it up in two layers of cotton balls and happily used almost all tape on her protection layer.
As I expected, she managed to use up a whole roll of tape, and asked for another one for her third idea.
We dubbed this contraption a “dino” egg. We both predicted that this one will break first, but it also survived a test drop from Smarty’s height.
Option 3 – Bubble Wrap Protection
This time Smarty decided to use flannel rags to wrap her egg in as the first layer of protection.
Then she wrapped her egg in two layers of bubble wrap and was ready for the final test.
Testing “Protect an Egg” Designs
We went to the park and Smarty threw her eggs from the climbing structure on the sidewalk some distance away. She wanted to try each design three times.
- A bubble wrapped egg broke on the first try – so much for bubble wrap!
- A “dino egg” broke on the second try – performed better than expected.
- An egg protected by plastic container broke on the third attempt.
More Resources for Future Engineers
- Build a Leprechaun Trap
- Build an Olympic Rink
- Build a Boat that Floats
- Magic of Lego Bricks
- Gifts for Future Female Engineers
Your Turn:Have you tried “an egg drop” with your children yet? Were their designs successful?
I am linking this post to my favorite Kid Blogger Link Ups and Share Days.