Egg Drop Experiment with Data

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Submitted by DaveBakker on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 17:41

Egg Drop Experiment with Data

We can take an egg drop further by adding sensor data collection. Normally an egg drop is a “pass or fail” activity, and collecting data is difficult. With an sensor in place of the egg for trial runs, students can refine their designs with real life data.

In the real world, engineers test systems extensively before running with a valuable payload. For example cars are tested for safety in the lab long before customers drive them. This lesson plan shows how to add engineering data collection to a standard egg drop activity with a PocketLab sensor.

NGSS Alignment

By adding data collection, an egg drop can be turned into a rich engineering design activity for the following NGSS standards: MS-ETS1-3 Engineering Design and MS-ETS1-4 Engineering Design.

Procedure

Conduct a standard egg drop experiment, making sure:

  • Students are working together in lab groups. 
  • There is a fixed height ‘drop zone’, each lab group has a set of materials to use, and students understand the general objective.
  • For an extra challenge, assign costs to the materials, and have the students track and minimize cost of their design.

Here is how to transform the experiment to include data collection and engineering design (student worksheet is below):

  • Have students draw a free body diagram and discuss the direction and magnitude of the forces on the egg.
  • Before building anything, students should hypothesize which design factors are important, and draw at least two or three potential design concepts. Students should use force, velocity, time, and acceleration to explain why they think their designs should achieve the expected goal.
  • Have students start building and testing designs. To test a design, attach a PocketLab, turn on the 3 axis accelerometer (detailed instructions below), record the peak force for 3 to 5 trials, calculate the average peak acceleration, range or standard deviation, and calculate average velocity. 
  • Students should compare their design concepts with the data they've collected and explain why the data matches their expected results or not.
  • When lab groups come up with their final design, it’s time to put in the egg and see if the egg can survive the fall.

Egg Drop Experiment - Student Worksheet

Formulas and Key Words

Force, f=m*a

Acceleration, a=v(final)-v(initial)/t

Velocity, v=d/t

Objective

You will be given a golden, million dollar egg, and you must build a capsule for the egg that will allow you to drop it from a great height without breaking! If the egg doesn’t break, you will be able to keep it and sell it for a million dollars. If however it breaks, at best you get a free omelet.

Fortunately you will be able to build and test your egg capsule with sensors before dropping the actual egg from the sky. 

The PocketLab sensor you will use for this is the accelerometer. An accelerometer measures instantaneous acceleration in meters per second squared, or g’s. You can design, build, and test several capsules for your egg with the accelerometer and calculate the forces your egg will experience.Then when you have your final and best design, you can put the egg in and be confident you won’t break it.


To be successful, you will have to:

  • Collect and organize data from experimental runs to determine the effectiveness of alternate designs.
  • Analyze quantitative data and identify relationships within the data, including relationships between the design solutions.
  • Make claims supported by data for which characteristics of each design best meet the given criteria.
  • Use data to identify the best features in each design that can be compiled into a new improved design.

Hypothesis

Draw a free body diagram and write a prediction to answer the following questions: 
What are all the possible factors affecting the forces on the egg when it lands? 
What are design changes that can reduce the force on the egg? 
Which design changes will likely have the biggest impact?

Free body diagram:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Predictions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Measuring Acceleration and Average Velocity with PocketLab

Follow the steps below to set up your PocketLab: 

  • Go to the PocketLab Web App (in a Chrome browser) using the following address: www.thepocketlab.com/app or open up the PocketLab mobile app. 
  • For a 'getting started' video on how to use the PocketLab Web App go here.
  • Click on the "Change Graph" icon. Click "Acceleration".
  • Click on the “Change Data Rate” icon and select the maximum data points per second (50 points/sec for PocketLab Voyager, and 20 points/sec for PocketLab One).

Practice recording data:

  • When ready to drop your capsule, press record to start recording acceleration data.
  • Maximum acceleration is read as the highest point on the graph when the capsule strikes the ground.
  • Note the accelerometer measures in 3 dimensions, X, Y, and Z. The acceleration in each direction is relevant because that is what the egg is experiencing. These all need to be measured and recorded in your trials.
  • Average velocity is calculated by observing the time in seconds (the x axis) the capsule is released and subtracting it from the time the capsule hits the ground, divided by the drop height. Observe the recorded acceleration graph, and you should be able to notice the release time and the impact time - subtract the release time from the record time for total time.

Egg Drop Data Collection

Testing Design Ideas

Each design should be tested in an experimental run to collect data and see if you are matching your design goals:

  • Brainstorm with your lab group on some different design ideas, draw a rough sketch, and explain how each design works using the terms force, mass, velocity, acceleration, and time. 
  • Pick your first design, document it on the worksheet, and get ready to test.

Testing Your Design:

  • With the PocketLab accelerometer ready to record, place it in your capsule and record 5 trials for each run, and calculate the average maximum acceleration, and range or standard deviation.

Run 1 Design Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run 1 Independent Variables  
Height  
Mass of capsule  
Run 1 Trials Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5
Maximum acceleration X          
Maximum acceleration Y          
Maximum acceleration Z          
Average velocity          
Average of maximum acceleration (5 trials):
Standard Deviation (or range) of maximum acceleration (5 trials):
Average velocity (5 trials):
Standard Deviation (or range) of average velocity (5 trials): 

Run 1 Observations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run 2 Design Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run 2 Independent Variables  
Height  
Mass of capsule  
Run 2 Trials Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5
Maximum acceleration X          
Maximum acceleration Y          
Maximum acceleration Z          
Average velocity          
Average of maximum acceleration (5 trials):
Standard Deviation (or range) of maximum acceleration (5 trials):
Average velocity (5 trials):
Standard Deviation (or range) of average velocity (5 trials): 

Run 2 Observations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run 3 Design Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run 3 Independent Variables  
Height  
Mass of capsule  
Run 3 Trials Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5
Maximum acceleration X          
Maximum acceleration Y          
Maximum acceleration Z          
Average velocity          
Average of maximum acceleration (5 trials):
Standard Deviation (or range) of maximum acceleration (5 trials):
Average velocity (5 trials):
Standard Deviation (or range) of average velocity (5 trials): 

Run 3 Observations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Test Run and Conclusions:

After running tests with sensor data, you should have an idea of the optimal design for your capsule. Also you probably have an idea how engineers felt leading up to the first manned Apollo mission. There were years of test flights before they were confident enough to launch a human into space (wikipedia article). 

Here are some questions to think about before you put your million dollar egg into a capsule and drop it:

  • Were you able to get better data by refining your design? Was it easy? Hard?
  • What design change led to the biggest changes in your data?
  • How does your data compare to other lab groups? Was there a design from another group that impressed you? Why? What was their thought process?
  • Did your trials have a lot of variability? How does that make you feel about your confidence that your design will work the first time?

There is not much you can do now except test your final design. Put your egg in the capsule, and attach the PocketLab as close to the egg as possible so that you can record the actual acceleration that the egg experiences.

Final Run Design Sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Run Independent Variables  
Height  
Mass of capsule  
Final Run Trial Results:
Maximum acceleration X  
Maximum acceleration Y  
Maximum acceleration Z  
Average velocity  
Million Dollars or Omelet?  
Egg Drop Experiment with Data
Grade Level

Source URL: https://www.thepocketlab.com/educators/lesson/egg-drop-experiment-data