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With the Egg-streme Parachuting—Flinn STEM Design Challenge™ for physical science and physics, design and construct a parachute that will protect an egg from cracking open. Parachuting has never been this egg-citing.

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Parachuting has never been this egg-citing! After learning about parachute construction and the physics of how they work, students design and construct a parachute that will protect an egg from cracking open. Avoid the mess by using water-filled plastic eggs enclosed in a bag—or up the ante by using real eggs! By measuring weight, drop height and time of free fall, students explore the relationships between canopy surface area, drag, and the resulting acceleration of the egg.

Complete for 30 students working in pairs.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Planning and carrying out investigations
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
MS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
MS-ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution
HS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Systems and system models
Energy and matter

Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object
HS-PS2-1. Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.