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Humpty Dumpty Had a Big Fall…

Student teams at Forest Edge Elementary School are challenged to prevent an egg from cracking when dropped.

Eggs fell at Forest Edge Elementary School last Friday. But not all of them went ‘Splat!’

Instead, about 25 teams of fourth graders had a chance to rewrite the famous Mother Goose nursery rhyme and prevent Humpty Dumpty from breaking up.

As part of what turned out to be a messy Science Day sponsored by Siemens, the school’s business partner, students learned all about gravity and how objects, regardless of size and weight, fall to the ground at the same rate — something Galileo discovered more than 400 years ago.

Then the students were challenged to defy the effects of gravity and prevent their egg from cracking after an eight-foot drop.

“Your job today is to become engineers,” said Nick Matich, a program manager at Siemens. “Figure out how to make the best kind of cushion to protect the egg.”

The student teams were given 15 straws, 10 popsicle sticks and two strips of masking tape to create egg “vessels” that would protect the egg and lessen the impact. The only rule was that 15 percent of the egg had to be left exposed. About 20 employees from Siemens volunteered to explain and supervise the day’s activities.

AFTER ABOUT AN HOUR to design and build their egg fortifications, the group of approximately 100 fourth graders reassembled in one of the school’s open areas. It was time to drop the eggs.

“Bye, I’ll miss you if you crack,” said Precious King as her egg was on its way to be dropped.

Students had crafted various protective designs. One egg was retrofitted with a parachute. “We did it, so [the egg] will fall to the ground slower,” said nine-year-old Ade Samuel, who helped his team with the design.

Another egg had its own landing gear, while others had a hodgepodge of padding construction.

“We made padding with straws on the top and on the bottom,” said Emma Dodd, a member of another team.

“Yeah, and we named our egg Chester, and Chester is not going to die,” said Soumya Mishra, one of Emma’s teammates.

Davey Elmer and his teammates, Precious King and Rqkih Ibrahim, provided their egg with limited padding and then designed a landing pad.

TEN EGGS survived the fall, triggering ten separate eruptions by the student crowd. Seventeen eggs, however, couldn’t be put back together again. But the loudest ovations came after cracks, plops and splats. “I just found a new way to make scrambled eggs,” said one teacher eyeing the puddle of egg yokes on the ground.

“The students had a chance to see what they mean by engineering,” said Frank Bensinger, principal at Forest Edge, adding that it wouldn’t have been possible without Siemens. “The kids saw why some eggs survived and why some didn’t.”