Effingham Christian School took its annual egg drop competition to new heights this year.
Students in grades 5-12 compete each spring in the science challenge to create a contraption to protect a raw egg from breaking in a fall. ECS typically conducts the egg drop from the school’s fire escape, which is about a 15-foot drop.
This year, the challenge was heightened — literally. The students had to devise ways for eggs to survive a fall from the Rincon Fire Department’s ladder truck.
“This is a trial-and-error this year for the students because it’s the first time the eggs have been dropped from that height,” said upper school humanities teacher Casey Fields.
With the truck’s ladder extended high above students, teachers and parents on the school’s lawn, firefighter Bronson Gillespie dropped eggs one at a time. The eggs that survived the initial plunge, from about 25 feet, advanced to drops of approximately 55 and 65 feet until the winner was determined.
“It’s a good way for them to challenge themselves and use critical thinking,” said upper school science teacher Sheila Kitchen. “They were really inventive.”
The students had two weeks to work on the project, Fields said. Along with trying to prevent their egg from breaking, the students received bonus points for an egg protector weighing less than a pound.
The competition typically has strict guidelines, Fields said, such as the one year students were allowed to use only straws and coffee filters. However, this year’s challenge of dropping the eggs from a ladder truck allowed the students some leeway on their designs.
“This year, being that it was being dropped from so high up, straws and coffee filters weren’t going to cut it,” Fields said. “So they were allowed to do whatever they wanted to do.”
Their ideas ranged from attaching a parachute to the egg, to filling an empty peanut butter jar with paper towels, to using a spring configuration to give the egg a little cushion as it hit the ground.
Most students worked individually, but a few, such as eighth-graders Sara Delk and Abbey McIntyre, teamed up on it. They cut holes in the sides of a Styrofoam bucket to reduce its weight, then wrapped their egg in a sock and suspended it inside the bucket with four rubber bands.
“So it wouldn’t have direct contact when it hit,” McIntyre explained.
McIntyre and Delk’s device survived to the final round, but fellow eighth-grader Ashley Clayton took first place. Clayton’s winning contraption was a plastic tennis ball can filled with sponges and bubble wrap to protect the egg.
Clayton was so happy with her design that she confided in a whisper, “I think I’m going to use it again next year.”
Rincon firefighters Jay Hillis and Michael Rahn joined Gillespie for the egg drop. Although Rincon’s Ladder 1 truck responds to calls all over Effingham County, using it to drop eggs was a first.
“We enjoy it. This is a lot of fun,” Hillis said.
The same is true for the students. The youngest ECS students, the pre-kindergarteners, stood and cheered as the big red truck pulled onto campus, and more than 30 fifth- through 12th-graders participated in the egg drop.
“They look forward to this every year,” Fields said. “They really love it.”