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Former winners (Abigail and Amelia) with their model.

Nutley Egg Drop Challenge 2022

For many years, the Egg Drop Challenge was popular with Lincoln School’s 6th graders, who were under the direction of retired teacher, Mr. Comune. It’s an opportunity for the students to bond, practice their engineering skills, and exercise friendly competition.  “Our curriculum was up for review and we wanted to include additional units of study such as Engineering and Coding,” says Spring Garden Media Specialist Mrs. Janine Sarno. 


The event soon branched out to all five elementary schools. The District-Wide Egg Drop challenge began with the Elementary Library Media Specialists (LMS) under the direction of Dr. Jess Shoja and in collaboration with the Gifted & Talented (G/T) program. The goal of this project was to add more units of study, with the emphasis on subjects like engineering and coding. 


As the end of the year approaches and the Egg Drop Challenge re-surfaces, William (Billy) Rodriguez (a participating student), Abigail Puleo (former winner), and Janine Sarno (a Library Media Specialist), reflect on their experience with the event. “It was hard work,” says Billy, “but it was worth it because the toilet paper absorbed the shock.”


The event has always been for the graduating elementary class, and is a way to get them together before they head off to Middle School. All of the rules, materials, and other factors are consistent throughout the school. “We follow the same formula for success,” noted Mrs. Sarno. Said formula is as follows. 


S = (B) (W + L)

Where S = the success factor with values equal: 

  1. B = 100 if egg does not break upon drop:
  2. B = 1 if egg breaks upon drop
  3. W = weight of container with egg (grams) (cannot exceed 1,000 grams);
  4. L = longest dimension (cm) (no dimension longer than 30 cm)


There has only been one district-wide event at the Art Show in which Lincoln took First, Second, and Third place. After that, COVID was introduced. With mandates, restrictions, and a lack of in-person school, the Art Show had to be put on hold. “We are hopeful the district wide events will start up again soon,” says Mrs. Sarno. 


The essential goal of this project is for groups to come up with a way to came an uncooked chicken egg (Grade A LArge) from breaking when dropped from a 6 foot ladder. Students will then have the opportunity to make changes and alterations according to the result of this 6 foot drop. 


Then, the modified design will be used to drop an egg from the school’s second story, which is an approximate 20 feet high. While planning and implementing their design, students will employ the Engineering Design Process. 


Their container must be less than 30 centimeters long and weight less than 1,000 grams. Contestants must also be able to remove the egg from the container without damaging it after the drop. They will have 30 seconds to do so and then inspect the egg for cracks and/or breaks. 


Once it has been determined that the egg is unbroken, the designs will be weighed against each other. The heaviest one, so long as it is less than 1,000 grams, will be taken to the Art Show. If there are two heaviest ones, the longer one will be taken.


Students were put intro groups and given their directions as well as a list of items, some of those being styrofoam cups, cardboard, socks, plastic wrap, tape, glue balloons, a plastic bag, rubber bands, construction paper, cotton pads, -tips, popsicle sticks, toilet paper string, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, and aluminum foil. However, they weren’t allowed to use all of the materials for their project. 


For most groups, it a game of trial and error. If one thing was right, it often felt like something else was wrong. A few groups were able to take their design home to test with the goal of getting it just right. “We tested it by throwing it out of my brothers window onto the driveway,” says Abby, reflecting on her experience. 


Throughout all of this trial and error, a winner is selected from the school and then the district. While many designs protect the egg, weight and length are the final  “When I learned that we won in our school, I was really excited and nervous to go to the district competition,” says Abby, “when I learned that we won the district, I was amazed and really excited.”


While winning is fun, those who participated in this project gained more than competition. It was created as an opportunity for students to bond, and many found themselves growing much closer with each other than they could’ve imagined. “My favorite part of this project was working with my partner, and we became really good friends because of it,” says Abby. This year’s winners have not yet been disclosed