By Daniel Taylor
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The Sullivans School’s Discovery Workshop partnered with Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka’s Fire Department to test their engineering skills and have some fun with Operation Egg Drop on May 16.
The students are all from the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade Discovery Workshops, a part of the gifted education program at The Sullivans School. Their mission was to construct a vessel that would carry and protect an egg through a free fall and land safely on the ground.
The students were broken up into smaller teams and each team was given the same limited amount of materials (three sheets of paper, 1.5 meters of masking tape, 10 craft sticks, five cotton balls and seven straws) with which they could construct their vessels.
Pamela Ashley, Gifted Education Teacher for The Sullivans School, served as the event coordinator and explained the idea behind this event.
“This is the perfect culmination of our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Project study of kinetic and potential energy,” said Ashley. “Prior to this big ‘finale,’ my students completed hands-on labs, experiments and conducted extensive research,” she said.
“Students had to apply their knowledge of kinetic and potential energy and the thee laws of motion as they considered the forces of gravity, drag and impact during the planning and construction of their egg vessels,” Ashley added.
The two main objectives in building an effective vessel are to maximize drag and minimize impact to give the delicate eggs the best chance for survival. The limited resources added an extra level of challenge to the students.
“We do this project every other year. In the past, students had an unlimited choice of materials to use in their designs,” explained Ashley. “Too many eggs were surviving! So I limited their materials this year!”
In order to properly conduct the experiment, the students needed to drop their eggs from a high distance. For that, Ashley called upon the services of Yokosuka’s Fire Department. Inspector Tooru Shibaguchi coordinated with The Sullivans School to provide a fire engine with a turntable telescopic ladder.
The students filed over to the base fire department, handed over their vessels to the firefighters and watched as each vessel was dropped from the extended ladder. Some eggs survived, some did not, but no matter what the result was, the students applied classroom lessons to a practical project, learned about teamwork, had fun and were able to interact with the local fire department.
“I have always wanted to partner with them and this seemed like the perfect project,” said Ashley. “The children look up to the firefighters and see them as heroes.”
CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of 7th Fleet’s Forward-Deployed Naval Forces, 83 tenant commands, and 24,000 Military and civilian personnel.