Fifth-graders embrace science eggsperiment
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 23, 2013 | 2425 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Egg drop competition
Nate Howell of Tracy Fire Department flings Lupita Hernandez’s teddy bear — her entry in a fifth-grade egg drop contest — from the top of a fire truck ladder at Hirsch Elementary School on Tuesday, May 21. The egg did not survive the 100-foot fall, breaking inside the bear.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Cheers and screams filled the schoolyard as fifth-graders at Hirsch Elementary watched their homemade egg containers tossed from a 100-foot fire engine ladder on Tuesday, May 21.

The activity was part of the 16th annual egg toss at the school at 1280 Dove Drive.

Using creativity and everyday items, students were instructed to design a container that could withstand a significant drop and keep the enclosed raw egg intact.

“I can’t believe mine survived,” said 11-year-old Megan Lorist, holding the egg she had swaddled in bubble wrap and duct tape.

Megan tied for first place overall and had the lightest successful container in teacher Art Cummings’ class, weighing 95 grams.

Some of the launch “vehicles” that were popular among students this year were stuffed animals, boxes stuffed with cotton balls and even a few peanut butter jars.

The three lightest containers with a surviving egg in each class received top honors. Three overall school winners were selected from among them based on weight.

Cummings, Megan’s teacher, has been organizing the yearly egg-drop competition since its inception.

“The objective is to give the kids active participation in science — to get them thinking, questioning and then experimenting,” he said.

New to the competition this year was an optional parachute category, and a few containers landed 50 to 100 feet away from the drop zone.

As firefighters extended the ladder on Truck 91, students looked up with anticipation, including 11-year-old Walter Gerstenberger.

“I was nervous (watching),” Walter said. “It’s nerve-racking. If it survives, I have the record.”

With a weight of 71 grams, Walter’s entry was in the running to beat the school record, but upon opening the container of Styrofoam and duct tape after its drop, he discovered his egg had broken.

The record of 73 grams, set a couple of years ago, remains unbeaten for another year.

Aliyah Azizi, 10, packed her egg in an empty peanut butter jar filled with cotton and tissues, but it, too, shattered on impact.

“Eggs are really fragile,” Aliyah said, “so it’s interesting to see which (design) doesn’t work.”

Students watching around the schoolyard yelled or groaned with disappointment as eggs splattered on the pavement.

“It’s so interesting to see the different things they used from around the house,” said fifth-grade teacher June Yasemsky. “We had a lot of scrambled eggs last year.”

One successful design was created by 11-year-old Sierra Rodda, who cut sections of a foam flotation noodle and hot-glued the egg inside. The resulting package weighed 96 grams and finished in a tie for first place overall.

“Me and my dad tried different ways,” she said. “The fun part was watching it drop.”

Jennifer Loeber placed second overall for her 99-gram container, and Tommy Dellagana came in third with his 107-gram entry.

Parachute division winners were Giovanni Rangle Andrino, Caitlin Mitzner and Emilio Ocampo.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or
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