On Friday, April 8th we had our penultimate field trip of the academic school year, wherein we went to visit the fourth graders at the Tucker Elementary School in Milton. Thank you Professor Eno Ebong for sponsoring this field trip, and PhD students Chinedu and Nicholas from her lab for helping out (and Hadeel and Tasha from our office as well!).
Working in the library of the school, we ran the day’s activity for 2 groups of kids, for a total of 75 fourth graders. I led the first group of activities with volunteers whilst Hadeel stepped up and led the second group.
The activities consisted of Paper Towers and Reverse Egg Drop – an activity we haven’t done in awhile. For Paper Towers, students had some very cool towers – particularly students in this group focused on aesthetically pleasing towers – i.e. pretty towers (see the crazy shaped tower bottom left). Many towers had spires of various shapes and sizes, to both increase their maximum height but also to look good.
During the reverse egg drop activity – in which students designed devices to catch falling eggs (rather than the classic egg drop in which students build a protective shell around the egg and drop that) – students came up mostly with one style of design – a square or rectangular box flat on the ground with cushioning inside. These work decently well with low drop heights, but struggle with higher drop heights (as there is no real crumple / impact zone – the egg pushes through the cushioning then still hits the solid floor). I think adding some additional example pictures into my presentation as well as talking about crumple zones might help – really explaining the physics of what will happen to their egg. Either way – we learned a valuable lesson in engineering – things don’t always work the first time – you try, try, try until you (your design) succeeds.