Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Nirmala Darmarajah

Park West H.S., Manhattan



Egg Drop 

New York Times                                            Thursday, August 7, 2000

Egg Accidents on the Rise, Scientists Fear Epidemic

By R. Yolk


San Francisco, CA—Yesterday, at 2:20pm, 2,009 eggs perished in a disastrous collision on the West Coast highway.  It’s the latest in a gruesome series of egg catastrophes dating back to the evolution of the chicken.  The southbound delivery truck carrying the eggs collided with a station wagon full of tourists as both drivers turned to look at the Golden Gate Bridge.  Although no persons were injured, 12 eggs in the station wagon and 1,997 eggs in the truck were crushed.


Police officers and emergency technicians were unable to put any of the eggs back together again.  Witnesses say that the injuries were so horrific, and the asphalt so hot, that most of the eggs were unidentifiable…“a veritable scramble,” said one bystander.


The public outcry over this issue has finally reached Capitol Hill, as senate majority leader, E. Poached prepares to bring forth the Egg Protection Bill.

This bill calls for preserving aisles in grocery stores just for eggs—no cheese, yogurt, or egg substitutes will be allowed within 5 feet.  An advisory committee also recommended that any egg traveling in a motor vehicle be restrained with shoulder and lap belts.  The Senate is expected to vote on the bill prior to eggnog season. 


Meanwhile, the carnage continues.  Last week, a clumsy stock boy destroyed three dozen of our very best eggs—Jumbo, Grade AAA.  He has since been fired.  A month ago, an impatient housewife dropped a dozen as she was getting the groceries out of her van.  Her family, heartbroken, was unavailable for comment.


One of the young witnesses to the San Francisco Scramble voiced the question on the lips of many across our great nation, “Who will save the eggs?”


Lesson Plan


1.     The class will read and discuss the article.  Inform the students that most scientific experimentation begins with a need to solve a problem that affects our society.


2.     As a class, come up with the “Problem” to be tested.  Ex: “How do we protect an egg in a 6 foot fall?”  This will be the beginning of the research paper. [9-12 Content Standard A- Questions/concepts that guide inquiry]


3.     Provide the students with a ‘catalog’ of available materials.  These could include popsicle sticks, glue, masking tape, paper towels, string, etc.


4.     Organize the students into groups of four.  At any phase of this lesson try to give each student his own role to ensure each individual’s participation. [Teaching Standard E- Nurture collaboration among students]


5.     In their groups, the students will:  A) choose a university to represent

     B) brainstorm a design for their “egg  protector.”  This will serve as a

     hypothesis.  C) write a short “grant proposal” to the Eggcellent Egg

     Corporation requesting funding for their project.  In the proposal, they

     must include:

a)     why we should save the eggs (this could be included in the introduction

     to their research paper),

b)    how they are going to save them (including the design of the egg protector)

c)     how much funding they would need.


6.     Return the proposals to the students—approved—and give them their “money” (use Monopoly money).  At this point regardless of how much the students asked for, give every group the same amount of money.  This would also be a good time to discuss how scientists get funding for their projects.


7.     The students can order the items they need from the catalog.  Do not control what items they buy, leave the decision up to each group.  Eggs would also have to be purchased.  This would involve a good deal of planning on the part of the students.


8.     Students should be given as much time as possible to design, build, and test their egg protection systems.  At this stage the students will write the materials, methods, and data section of their report. [9-12 Content Standard E- Abilities of technological design]


9.     Finally, all groups will demonstrate their designs.  For a bit of fun, tell the students to wear the colors of their universities on that day.  Here the students will write the conclusion and amend the problem if necessary. [9-12 Content Standard A- Communicate and defend arguments]


10. If you have time, choose the best design and ask all the groups to reproduce it using the materials and methods section of that group’s paper.  This will show the students the importance of writing a detailed procedure.  Test the new protectors.


11. Have a class-wide debriefing session in which you discuss the process of beginning a scientific experiment in the real world. [Teaching Standard B- Orchestrate scientific discourse]


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