SNOHOMISH — Elementary students in Snohomish tested the rules of gravity Thursday, and in the process, the fragility of egg shells.
They were tasked with finding ways to protect uncooked eggs from cracking when dropped from 70 feet in the air. Students engineered vessels from marshmallows, gelatin, newspaper and anything else they could find.
“We’re always looking for ways for kids to apply what they’re learning,” Dutch Hill Elementary School Principal Jack Tobin said.
The third annual egg drop at Dutch Hill drew a larger crowd than past years.
Hundreds of kids sat on the sidewalk in front of the school and looked up at a towering ladder truck belonging to Snohomish County Fire District 4. They waited for a firefighter to drop the egg-protecting packages they had spent the last couple of weeks constructing.
Students learned that eggs fall fairly quickly. For example, about 36 feet per second at impact when released 20 feet above ground, said Kristin Foley, a school district spokeswoman.
“The kids are so creative,” said Lt. Whitney Mansfield with Fire District 4. “Some plan to make as big a mess as possible.”
One student filled a gallon bag with water and sealed an egg inside. As soon as the bag hit the concrete, water sprayed everywhere, Tobin said.
Gelatin, which was quite effective in protecting the eggs, was a crowd favorite. The impact resulted in a colorful blast and a chorus of laughter.
“The bigger the explosion, the better,” said Jaime Robinson, one of about 20 volunteers who helped run the all-day event. Many of the volunteers were part of the parent-teacher association.
There was some heartbreak over broken eggs, Robinson said.
Caroline Smith, 8, built a small, teal-colored box. She wrapped an egg in a plastic sack and put it in the box with handfuls of cotton balls. It landed with a thud. The girl watched carefully as a volunteer cut open the box that had been sealed tight with packaging tape. The volunteer pulled out a leaky grocery bag.
“Failure,” Smith said as she walked back to sit with her friends.
They cheered on their classmates, shouting “drop the egg” to the firefighter above.
“I hope they learn trial and error, and that they can always try something different next year,” Robinson said.
Firefighter Mansfield helped his own children prepare for the annual egg drop. His son, who is in kindergarten, placed an egg inside a teddy bear. He attached a grocery sack parachute to slow the bear’s descent. Before the big event, they practiced by tossing the bear over the side of their deck.
Firefighters at District 4 have helped with the egg drop for the past three years.
“We try to spend as much time in the schools as we can,” Mansfield said.
That isn’t always easy.
They were called out for an emergency in the morning. Additional firefighters temporarily filled in until they returned.
The department plans to visit Dutch Hill Elementary again next week to talk with students about fire prevention.