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Parents, kids drop everything for assignment

Students at Moon Lake Elementary worked with their moms and dads to come up with a way to help an egg survive a great fall.

By MICHELE MILLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- It was an assignment that had youngsters and their parents brainstorming in a big way. Their mission: create a safe haven for an ordinary egg that would be ceremoniously dropped from the highest point on the playground equipment at Moon Lake Elementary School.

About 70 kindergarteners, first- and second-graders took part in the First Annual Black Bear Pod Egg Drop last Thursday. Those whose eggs survived the fall would be treated to ice cream after lunch. All who participated would receive a special certificate. When all was said and done only six eggs failed to make the grade.

There was little doubt that both students and their parents took their assignment seriously, using a variety of household materials -- sponges, plastic foam, cotton, soda bottles, duct tape and even gelatin -- to keep their egg "astronauts" from cracking on the long fall to earth.

Many decorated their designs with markers or shiny aluminum foil. Kindergartener Macy Hawotte took special pains in adorning her creation with confetti and colorful star stickers. Second-grader Sarah Stoll was quite proud of her painted soda bottle "rocket ship" that came complete with a plastic parachute.

"My mom helped me paint it. I thought it was cool. I knew it wouldn't break," Sarah said after her egg's successful drop.

Jake Clason relied on a simple design, using paper napkins and two plastic pudding containers fastened together with what seemed to be about a mile of silver duct tape.

"It took me longer to get the egg out of there than it did to make it," Jake said after unraveling the tape to find his egg in still intact.

Megan Hamilton, whose egg was secured in a plastic juice bottle filled with red gelatin, was quite proud of her mom's innovative idea.

Her brother Zachary proved that success runs in the family. His egg was cushioned between two sponges wrapped in rubber bands.

"My egg survived," he yelled, holding it up for all to see.

This is the second family project assigned by teachers in the Black Bear Pod, said teacher Sherri Brown. Students in the classrooms of Brown, Andrea Maltese, Carol Washburn and Julia Hayden had been learning about space and gravity. The Egg Drop seemed like a fun project involving both subjects, Brown said.

"We were so pleased with the involvement with all the families, I can't tell you," said Brown, who remembered having a similar assignment when she was an elementary school student.

Teacher Carol Washburn was equally enthusiastic.

"This was great," she said as her students lined up to head back to their classroom. "I liked it because it gives kids a chance to express themselves and the parents a chance to get involved."

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