Fourth-graders test egg protection ideas

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Aiden McLeish, left, and Addie Schramm, right, report the results of their eggs being dropped to Kim Hiatt Friday during the 17th annual egg drop at Phillips Elementary in Marietta.

Bubble wrap, popcorn, sponges and duct tape all made an appearance Friday as they were lobbed off the roof of Phillips Elementary for the school’s annual egg drop.

The drop is a science experiment the fourth-grade classes have participated in for the last 17 years.

“It started at Harmar School and Colleen Fleming brought the idea over here,” explained Kim Hiatt, the science teacher running the show Friday.

Hiatt said the purpose of the experiment was for students to prove they can follow directions in a project while thinking creatively and using resources at hand.

“This teaches problem-solving, is fun and shows them science is cool,” she added. “The kids made their egg protectors out of home goods, all they had to do was make sure that it was a raw egg wrapped in a plastic bag, then the sky was the limit for padding.”

One genius student was shocked to find that his plan, plopping an egg in a full peanut butter plastic jar, was a wild success.

“Mine still hasn’t broken?”Jesse Schmidt, 11, of Marietta, yelped after the first round of tosses from staff off the three-story-high roof landed his jar on the asphalt below. “Holy cow! How did it not break?”

His hands were covered in peanut butter though since the plastic jar had cracked on impact.

“It’s still alive!” he exclaimed, jamming the remaining peanut butter back in the jar for a second round, then again for the third and final. “I’ve got to scoop all of the peanut butter left back in so that it protects the egg. I hope it survives the third launch.”

Though Schmidt’s egg didn’t survive the final toss from the roof, Owen Riley’s egg did.

Riley’s egg was nestled in the center of three large yellow car sponges, taped tightly together.

“My sister did this last year, I just perfected it,” said the 10-year-old after cheering, whooping and landing on his knees in the grass, fists clenched and grinning ear to ear. “This year I tried zip ties but that didn’t hold well after you had to pull the egg out to show Ms. Hiatt each time that the egg wasn’t broken. So I decided to use duct tape to keep it tight.”

The egg, in a plastic zipper bag, was lodged inside a hole carved out of the middle sponge, providing padding on all curves.

There were three rounds in which students’ padded eggs were tossed from the roof.

Up top, it was Principal Kristi Lantz’s first time taking part in the tradition.

“I had heard that this was an event you don’t want to miss,” she said.

“But then I was asked if I was willing to climb on the roof, to which I said ‘of course!'”

Lantz joined the ranks of Attendant Steph Greene and Physical Education Teacher Alex Myers on the roof Friday, as the three hauled up the science projects in cardboard boxes attached to rope.

And all three were just as excited as the entire school sitting below, pumped up by the chanting of “Drop Those Eggs. Drop Those Eggs!”

Parents were even in the crowd filming, taking pictures and cheering their children as they checked each round to see if their egg had made it.

“After they check and the egg hasn’t broken, it’s up to them to repackage the egg and try another round,” explained Hiatt. “We (adults) can’t help them because that would be an unfair advantage, but that teaches them to ask for help from their peers too.”

And while some students helped each other hold boxes or pull tye-dyed and camouflage duct tape tight, others celebrated each other’s success or commiserated in fellow defeat.

“I had a box filled with bubble wrap and newspaper,” said a dejected Aiden McLeish, 10, of Reno. “But it only made it one round. The second my egg couldn’t take it.”

Meanwhile, Addie Schramm, 9, of Marietta, was proud of her thought to cut up a pool noodle and wrap the egg in a second layer of bubble wrap before adding duct tape.

“It worked! It worked!” she cheered as she reported back to Hiatt for the second time.

At a glance

¯ The 17th annual egg drop showcased approximately 50 fourth-grade science experiments at Phillips Elementary Friday.

¯ The entire school gathered outside to watch their principal, physical education teacher and an attendant lob boxes, jars and bouncing balls stuffed with padding and raw eggs off the roof.