In this challenge, students must design a device to protect an egg from breaking by increasing the time interval during which a collision takes place. There are many ways of designing such a challenge so we hope to inspire the experienced teacher and provide enough guidance for the relative novice so that the experience will be both exciting and rewarding, without too much undue effort.

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

  • Determine the scope of the challenge:
    • The form of the challenge.
    • Materials
    • The time frame and class time
    • Location.
    • Group size.
    • Scoring criteria
  • Write the rules and the rubric:
    • Consider limits on resources.
    • Consider ease of scoring.
  • Make final arrangements:
    • Get permission, if necessary, to use a gymnasium or stairwell.
    • Consult custodians as well as administrators.
    • Invite district public relations personnel to come take photos.
  • Perform the challenge:
    • Students create devices.
    • Set up the testing area.
    • Test the devices.
    • Score and clean up.

If this is your first time doing a project like this, you may be surprised about how many of the steps take place before the students get to work. The pre-planning you do will make the entire process run much more smoothly than it might otherwise. It is especially important to bring custodians into the conversation. You will be breaking eggs, and giving the custodial staff a surprise trash can full of runny, smashed eggs and egg-covered devices is not a friendly gesture.