The purpose of an Egg Drop experiment is summed up pretty well by http://eggdropexperiment.org:
The aim of [the egg drop experiment] is to design a carrier that will prevent an egg from breaking when dropped from a certain height. The project must fit in within the specifications given. Please keep in mind that your egg carrier must be able to withstand numerous drops.
There are great learning goals for the experiment as well:
Students will work in teams to design and construct an egg protective device. Students will be able to explore the different materials available and learn to apply concepts of momentum, impulse, force and energy to this project.
Unfortunately, the connection between the concepts and the actual outcome of a drop (breakage or survival) has a gap. Many times, the breaking of the egg could be a simple matter of luck. It might not be apparent in the aftermath as to what factor caused the egg to break and could be easily chalked up to blind luck.
To add some data science to the age old experiment, we’ve added an accelerometer sensor to our drop which measures how many g-forces are acting on the package before, during, and after the drop. The data shows how long the package was in free-fall, how many g-forces were acting on it during the decent, and how hard the package hits. We made a video showing the data and the fall going at the same time:
The drops start at 1:23.
Can you pick out events such as: the parachute opening, the package spinning, or which material cushioned the landing best?
Here is the spreadsheet of data we collected from the three drops in the video and others we didn’t show. Feel free to manipulate the data and see what you find.