Egg drop highlights engineering and ingenuity

Meneley Elementary School egg drop challenge winners Edwin, Octavian, and Conway. Photo by Alicia Hill

Meneley Elementary School egg drop challenge winners Edwin, Octavian, and Conway. Photo by Alicia Hill


Fifth-grade students at Meneley Elementary conducted an experiment in engineering last week during the school’s annual Egg Drop.

The Egg Drop has been a tradition at Meneley for the past seven years. Fifth-grade teacher and event organizer Alicia Hill said students complete the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics challenge at the conclusion of their “Gravity Defying Unit,” and are tasked with build a device to safely land their “Eggstronaut” from a 10-foot drop.

Students work collaboratively to create a design using a specific set of materials. Time is of the essence, as the first build must be completed in a single day.

During the second phase of the project, teams are allowed to reconstruct their devices based upon data collected from their first drop. Design materials are once again specified, but Hill said students have more latitude in the second build.

“This year we had devices with parachutes, extra cushion pads, and balloons for padding,” she said.

Designs are then put to the ultimate challenge against drops of 25, 50, and 75 feet. Hill and Meneley Principal Blaine Spires each thanked Joe Benigno’s Tree Service for supplying a mechanical lift in order to conduct the drops.

Three student teams out of a total of 24 groups successfully land their “Eggstronauts” from the 25- and 50-foot drops, and one group of three students designed a device that ensured a secure landing for their egg from a height of 75 feet.

Edwin, Octavian, and Conway’s winning design incorporated a paper parachute that twirled their egg to safety.

Congratulations to the top trio of innovators and to all the 5th grade Meneley Mountain Lion engineers

Welcome a new season

Happy autumn! It’s my favorite time of year, and last weekend’s change in weather offered a welcome hint of the cozy season’s approach. How lovely it is to watch the trees start to turn color, and the cooler morning temperatures have been enough to encourage me to reach for fleece pants and a sweatshirt before heading out for morning walks. This past week, I’ve even spotted Orion in the sky before sunrise.

Between fall cleanup chores and tending to the plants that are still blooming, the new season provides plenty of things to do in the backyard. My praying mantis friend continued to visit me for several weeks without fail each time I went outside to water, but it’s been about 10 days since I last saw her. I miss her daily greetings.

What I have seen are a good number of tiny lizards darting about in the rocks, under shrubs, and even brazenly crossing the back patio. While I’m sure they’ve been around all these years, I can’t really say I’ve ever noticed lizards in our yard before.

There are also a lot of robins poking about in the grass and going after the sparse clusters of green grapes just starting to ripen on the vine. I’ve not had the best luck growing things this year, but the birds don’t seem to mind and it’s fun to watch them enjoy this sweet treat.

Amy Roby can be reached at


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