The Great Egg Drop: Shellyton 3000

By Emily Streckenbach

Introduction to Success

This project was a real challenge. My partner, Jaisha, and I struggled to estimate how the egg would land. In the end, we achieved success! But what happened to grant us a successful landing? How did we manage it? Well, that's what this Smore is here for! To help you understand the process in which we used to stop our egg from splattering on the concrete.

Eeekk! Our First Bad Picture!

Beginning The Process

When Jaisha and I started on the Shellyton 3000, we had no idea where to even start. The goal was to create some sort of contraption that would hold a raw egg. Then, a fireman would drop them off of a 45-50 foot fire-ladder. Seems easy enough, we all thought. But there was a HUGE catch. We could only use a certain amount of these objects: cardboard, rubber bands, packing peanuts, Styrofoam, Dixie cups, a plastic bag, paper, Popsicle sticks, cotton balls, cotton swabs, bendy-straws, string, and tape. A lot of materials but still a big challenge.

The Ideas Start Flowing

The first idea that popped into my head was Maybe we can fit the egg inside the Dixie cup! So Jaisha and I whipped up our first design. We thought about how we could make sure that our egg didn't crack when it hit the ground. We brainstormed ideas to cushion the egg's landing. We decided we could fill the Dixie cup with cotton balls or packing peanuts. (These were the two softest objects) We could rip the cotton balls in half for more "insulation" to make sure the egg would be cushioned. Our next order of business was how could we make it so that our egg won't fall hard to the ground? It was Jaisha's brilliant idea to add "landing gear". We brainstormed different ideas including, landing pads out of paper and cotton swabs, and using the bendy straws and the Popsicle sticks to lean on in case the Dixie cup fell to one side when it landed. So we taped three Popsicle sticks on and two bendy straws to hold it up. It looked kind of like a rocket ship.

Keep Brainstorming, and Failing, and Brainstorming...

The next day Mr.Landers gave us all plastic Easter eggs with marbles in them to test out our designs. We stood on the table, and dropped our "rocket ship". It fell on it's side and the egg toppled out of the Dixie cup, it broke open and marbles spilled everywhere. It was time for a design change. We realized that the "landing gear" didn't do their job very well. Scratch that idea. We also thought, Maybe, if we put the other Dixie cup on top of the one we're already using, it will prevent the egg from tumbling out if it falls on it's side. We decided that we would tape the top Dixie cup onto the bottom one when we got our real egg. We also added packing peanuts to soften the fall of the Shellyton 3000. Our test with the packing peanuts was a big FAIL. The Shellyton 3000 just fell on it's side again and the egg cracked. We tried to build a parachute, but all we accomplished was a lot of wasted tape and a ball of paper.

The Failure Streak Comes To An End

We were nearly out of ideas, all we did for a good five minutes was sit and think of solutions. Every once and a while, one of us would say, Well we could do this with the- oh never mind we don't have enough tape left. But then, Jaisha saved the day. She thought, Everyone is thinking of things that can fly, wings on an airplane, a parachute, what if we make a kite and attach it to our Dixie cups?! We got to work right away, we fashioned a kite out of a plastic bag, four bendy straws, and four slivers of cardboard. We taped the Dixie cup in the center of the kite and let her fly. She didn't exactly fly, more like fall. The contraption tipped on its side and the Dixie cups fell off. We sat there staring at the Shellyton 3000 for a moment, then a light bulb popped into my head! If the Dixie cups wouldn't stay on the kite, we could tape the piece of string on each side of the Dixie cup and tape the string in the middle onto the Dixie cup itself. We braced ourselves for yet another failure, but this time was different. The kite glided to the ground and landed softly. We'd done it!

The Moment Of Truth

When finally the big day came, Jaisha and I were nervous. We didn't want our egg to be squashed on the blacktop! We got to name and decorate our egg when we got it and we named her Shelly. I drew a cute little smiley face on her and we taped her into the Shellyton 3000. As we headed outside, I crossed my fingers and gave the Shellyton 3000 to the fireman. We watched as eggs fell to the ground, some splattered, some cracked, and a few survived the fall. The fireman held up our contraption, and let it go. I was expecting the Shellyton 3000 to flip and land the wrong way, but it looked as light as air and the plastic bag spun around as it slowly glided down. It didn't make a SPLAT noise like some of the others, that made me hope for just a small crack. When I ripped the tape off and pulled Shelly out, I was shocked. Shelly was alive! Not a scratch on her beautiful white body!

In Conclusion...

If I were to do this project again, I would probable sketch some design ideas before actually crafting a design. This would hopefully prevent wasting materials. I would also try a different approach on the kite idea. Maybe we could tape the kite a different way. I'm glad we did this project, it was fun, and difficult at the same time. I would recommend this project for any other classes or schools, it's super fun!