Background Information on Egg Drop Experiments


Egg drop projects help students explore basic concepts such as gravity, force and acceleration. In an egg drop project, the specific details and rules may vary. The general idea is to have students design a container that will allow an egg to safely fall from varying heights without breaking. Often, one of the goals is to try and use the least amount of material as possible. Egg drop projects combine problem solving skills with basic principles of engineering and physics.

Laws of Motion

  • The science behind solving the falling egg "problem" is found in Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion. The first law states that an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion, unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. This law means that if the forces acting on a falling egg are equal, it will remain in its current state of motion. If a force greater than those acting on the egg is applied, it will accelerate. "Acceleration" means any change in velocity -- slowing down, speeding up or changing direction. If you hold an egg, the forces you are applying are equal and balanced, canceling out the force of gravity. Therefore, it remains motionless in your hand. If you let go of the egg, gravity becomes an unbalanced force and causes the egg to fall to the ground.

Force, Mass and Acceleration

  • Newton's second law deals with the relationship between an object's mass, its acceleration and the amount of force it exerts. The heavier an object is, and the faster it is traveling, the more force it exerts. Gravity causes falling objects to accelerate at a rate of 32.2 feet per second squared. By reducing the amount of mass in the egg container, you are reducing the amount of force it exerts as it falls.

Equal and Opposite

  • Newton's third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That means when you exert a force on an object, the object exerts a force back on you. For example, if you were standing on a boat and pushed off of the dock, even though you were pushing the dock, the dock pushed back. This is what causes the boat to move away from the dock. This concept is useful in understanding why an egg breaks when it strikes the ground; the ground is returning the force from the egg as it meets the ground. Using shock-absorbing materials can help reduce the amount of force exchanged between the ground and the egg.

Conservation of Energy

  • The law of conservation of energy helps understand how to mitigate the effect of an egg that is falling to the ground. Energy can neither be created or destroyed, only transferred. When an object falls to the ground, some of its energy is transferred to the ground, while it retains some energy. This is why a ball may bounce lower and lower each time. Eventually, the kinetic energy dissipates and the ball stops bouncing. By understanding that kinetic energy from a fall can be diminished over time, students can attempt to minimize the force of impact from a falling egg by using materials that allow for a bounce.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Egg Drop Soup Nutrition Information

    It can be hard to find healthy options when eating out or getting takeout. One of the healthier choices for starters from...

  • The Science Behind the Egg Drop Experiment

    The Egg Drop is a classic science class experiment for middle school or high school students. Students are given an egg to...

  • The Physics of Egg Drop Science Projects

    The egg drop experiment is a staple in most physics classes. It is used to demonstrate basic, yet fundamental, concepts in physics,...

  • Egg Drop Experiments

    Most students participate in an egg drop experiment either in elementary school or college. This science project requires students to build a...

  • The Scientific Method for an Egg Drop

    Egg drop projects can be a fun way to learn about physics and the effects of weight, mass and structure. Typically, egg...

  • Egg Drop School Projects

    One science idea that covers physics and design for students is the egg-drop experiment. Students must design a container for an egg...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!