Portsmouth students ‘eggsperiment’ with physics

Portsmouth firefighter Tim Gumkowski drops one of the egg packages from 90 feet in the air. At right is Lt. Norman Moore. Portsmouth firefighter Tim Gumkowski drops one of the egg packages from 90 feet in the air. At right is Lt. Norman Moore.

Portsmouth firefighter Tim Gumkowski drops one of the egg packages from 90 feet in the air. At right is Lt. Norman Moore.

Portsmouth firefighter Tim Gumkowski drops one of the egg packages from 90 feet in the air. At right is Lt. Norman Moore.

Thirty-eight students at Pennfield School crossed their fingers today in hopes their eggs wouldn’t get scrambled.

From about ninety feet in the air, their custom-designed packages holding precious cargo were dropped to the ground.

“This is our annual science expo,” said Matthew Bottone, Upper School science teacher. “Every couple of years we do a physics challenge.”

This year’s task for students: Design a container that will protect an egg from progressively higher falls.

“We started at one meter, then we doubled it — two, four, eight,” Mr. Bottone said.

Out of 150 participants, there were 38 “survivors” who moved on to the ultimate challenge: a 30-meter drop from a Portsmouth Fire Department ladder truck.

Lt. Norman Moore and firefighter Tim Gumkowski from the department were on hand  to do the honors, and they dropped protective packages of every type and design. There were paper boxes, plastic containers, even fruit; a cantaloupe was used to protect one egg, an eggplant for another.

Pennfield Egg Drop“We had one that was a box full of water balloons,” said Jenn Alexander, Lower School science teacher, adding that another student used a hockey helmut with a sponge inside. “Mixed material was the most popular design.”

Some of the younger students fared well in the challenge, she said.

“We had a first-grader’s design drop from the highest point. It was made out of straw and cardboard,” Ms. Alexander said.

Out of 38 eggs, 15 of them survived the fall from the ladder truck.

As for the others? That’s all, yolks.

Watch a short video of a lower school student’s egg surviving an eight-meter fall:

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