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Egg drop contest comes to a boil

Ryan Anderson (left) and Tracy Preece, fourth grade teacher and ground judge, inspect an egg that survived the drop.2 / 4
Egg drop teammates (left to right) Kailyn Wienke, Tessa Jacobson and Ashton Davis look to see if their egg survived. It didn't.3 / 4
Nate Kirkman was Hillside Elementary's mystery/celebrity Dropper for the day. Kirkman took a position with the University of Wisconsin-Stout this year but promised to return for the egg drop day.4 / 4

Fourth grade students at Hillside Elementary participated in the second annual Egg Drop competition on Friday.

The object of the science challenge was for students to design an egg landing device that securely held a raw egg. The goal was to have the egg survive a 20-foot drop to the gym floor.

The various egg containers ranged from a giant baby bottle with an internal rubber band suspension to parachute vehicles to a roll of toilet paper with the egg stuffed inside. Devices numbered about 30 in all.

"They (the students) keep amazing us with their ingenuity/creativity," said Bryan Hop, a fourth grade teacher who helped coordinate the event,

Hop said the overall goal of the project is to get students thinking about the practical use of science in life.

"It always starts out as a science project, and then becomes much more," he said. "The kids put their hearts into these contraptions ... and then the whole grade comes together to cheer them on. What seems quite simple has many facets for learning."

Hop said some students used math to figure out how to design a container that would withstand the impact of the drop. Others tested their devices at home to perfect the design.

"It all adds up to problem solving, in a closer to real world situation," Hop said. "Not that they will be professional egg droppers for a living, but they will probably have to think on their feet, and solve whatever comes at them in whatever career path they choose. This is just a fun way to cultivate those early strategies/solutions."

Forced inside due to the weather, the students were treated to a mystery egg dropper for the day. Former Hillside counselor Nate Kirkman, who now works at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, came back to participate in the event.

The students and staff members were amped up for the afternoon performance. The noise level was significant as the competition began.

Students counted down each drop, and let out gasps if the landing of a particular contraption was ragged.

The contraption creators then worked with teachers to check inside and see if the eggs were whole. If the drop was successful, students usually lifted the unbroken egg high in the air, generating cheers from the audience.

Drops that were less successful resulted in the gooey egg being deposited in a garbage can.

In all, there were quite a few eggs that survived the challenge, Hop said.

"It was a blast again," Hop said. "I think the students all enjoy seeing their creations fly through the air. Everyone seems to cheer if the eggs make it or not .. so it is a pretty great crowd."