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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Transportation Systems Engineering

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Lesson Overview
Lesson Title:
Crash Test Egg

Mr. Philip Monroe (Primary)
Mr. Kyle Schumann

Brief Description:
Using a pre-made apparatus to simulate crashes of "egg cars" at different speeds, with eggs as simulated occupants, incorporating Newton's three laws.

Topics Introduced:
Newton's Three Laws

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Health, Safety and Environmental Management
Suggested Grade Levels:
9th Grade

Standards Taught:
12.3.4 Science 2003

Lesson Information
Learning Expectations:

Students are expected to learn, and understand, the implications of Newton's three laws. More specifically, students should understand how the three laws effect occupants of vehicles in car crashes, and what design features in cars do to mitigate the damage to occupants.

Students should, ultimately, understand that to mitigate damage to occupants, the force on the occupants must be reduced.

Plan Of Action:

Students will review Newton's Three laws in a descriptive context. The apparatus will be examined and used in an interactive way to see how the three laws influence the actions of mass.

The apparatus can be constructed in many, many ways, and only one way is shown. It is assumed that a teacher will construct a motion/mass/force apparatus in a way that is most relevant and practical to his/her particular situation.

For upper level grades, the apparatus can easily be altered to accept devices that will more accurately define motion. Photo gates and logger pro applications are simple and easy to design and attach.

The teacher should plan on about $25.00 and 4 hours to build and test the apparatus.

Data Set Used:

The data set that the students will be using is shown on the student handout sheet that can be downloaded.

The students will be finding data that compares the acceleration/speed of an object when either the mass of an object, or the force acting upon it, is changed.

This is descriptive by design, because it is meant to be used without quantitative data. The experiment can easily be altered to accept and use quantitative data.

Materials Needed:

One piece of wood (1" x 8" x 10') nominal dimensions
Two pieces of wood (1" x 8" x 10') nominal dimensions
One piece of wood (4" x 4" x 2') nominal dimensions
Two pieces of wood (1" x 2" x 1') nominal dimensions
Two pieces of wood (1/4" x 2" x 10') nominal dimensions
Six plastic slides, such as those used on the bottom of chairs or tables
One bag of rubber bands
Portable or rechargeable drill and bits
Containers, with no two dimensions larger than 4", and none more than 12"
Containers could be soda bottles, tin cans, cardboard boxes, ect.
Materials to be used and destroyed
Materials could be tissue paper, egg crates, foam, marshmallows, ect.
Utility screws (wood quality, one and one-half inch in length)
A can-do attitude, from the instructor and the students

It is important to not try to make the project the exact way I did. It is just as important to make a channel that the car/slug can be accelerated down. Different teachers will make each machine differently, based on the materials available, prior experience and technical skills. In the end, you are just making a long channel that the car/slug can crash into an egg.

Preparation Period:

Preparation period ~ Teacher
Time preparation - Once
4 hours to completely assemble and test apparatus
1/2 hour to assemble building material for students to use when they complete the "egg car".

Preparation period ~ Students
15 minutes each time a new "egg car" is made. Experimentation and practice runs will obviously increase this time.

Implementation Period:

The time to complete the experiment/demonstration and the graphs is estimated to be about 30 minutes. This will vary with the skill levels and focus of the students.

The instructor may allow students to complete and test cars at the end of other periods and days. This is a good thing, usually, because multiple trials and ideas can be at the heart of the scientific method.

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

The implications of this experiment and lab are largely engineering in nature. This is an application of knowledge.

The speed of the slug is directly related to Newtonian force = mass x acceleration explanations. The egg will want to splatter due to Newton's first law of motion, or the law of inertia

Finally, momentum will be conserved, and energy will be conserved, but both must be managed, controlled and redirected in order to save the egg.

Unexpected Results:

The most obvious unexpected result would be the catastrophic failure of the apparatus. Safety precautions should be in place, so that apparatus failure does not result in student injury.

There will be a lot of energy released by the apparatus, safety precaution need to be taken seriously.

Considerations for Diversity in Education:

For students with a high level of math ability, the data that is collected can be made quantitative, instead of qualitative, with the use of photogates and logger pro instrumentation.

There is little reading material in this experiment, but the approach is based upon inquiry, so all of the reading can be eliminated for non-readers, at the discretion of the teacher.

There appears to be little in the experiment that would cause confusion of difficulty when placed against the backdrop of different cultures or ethnic styles.

Lesson Files
Car Crash Diagrams
diagrams for building car crash apparatus
[size: 37888] [date uploaded: Jun 17, 2010, 2:33 pm ]

Car Crash Egg Lesson Plan
This is the lesson plan for the Car Crash Egg apparatus, including Newton\'s Three Laws. The graph paper is not attached.
[size: 41984] [date uploaded: Jun 22, 2010, 2:22 pm ]

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