CARMICHAELS – For 16 years and counting, sixth-grade students at Carmichaels Area Elementary Center received the same assignment – find a way to drop an egg from the roof of the school and not have it break.
The rules are simple. The egg can’t be hard-boiled. Other than that, it is an anything-goes proposition.
“I think it is one of the neatest ways you can teach a concept. I’m a hands-on guy,” said assistant elementary principal Dave Bates. “I can tell by the looks on their faces they are hands-on learners.”
The event is so loved, it brought one person out of retirement to be there.
Former district maintenance supervisor Lou May retired last June after 27 years with the district.
He was there at the beginning of the egg-dropping tradition and expressed a little disappointment when he thought the 2013 drop would be his last.
Luckily for May, his successor, Dave Franks, was happy to let May continue the tradition.
Nostalgia ran deep at the 2014 egg drop as May was joined on the roof of the elementary by outgoing superintendent Craig Baily, who pitched in for a portion of the drops.
From 40 feet up, science and math come into play, but luck is a contributor as well.
May said on especially windy days, some of the student’s egg contraptions were pulled back to the roof from a good gust. However, this year, like the one before, proved to be the perfect day weather-wise for the event, with just a slight breeze to carry eggs to the pavement below.
Jars of peanut butter tend to be a favorite means of sending eggs safely to the ground year-after-year. But, future sixth graders should beware because there is no guarantee of that. Depending on how the plastic jars strike the surface, peanut butter will spew out along with egg yolk.
“We see a lot of the same things tried because these kids have older brothers and sisters who have come before them,” said teacher Becky Mitchell.
There were plenty of unique combinations of techniques of the past employed by the class of 2020. Tape, lots of tape, accompanied most. Teddy bears, Nerf footballs, cotton balls, cereal, pool noodles, and even tennis balls made the descent. A soft-sided lunch box with a parachute fashioned from an umbrella without the metal ribbing had one of the softest flights of the day.
When it comes to whom is the winner, this year there wasn’t a runaway classroom. With 100 students participating from four rooms, the overall percentage of eggs that survived was 63 percent. But, that only matters to the teachers who get in some good-natured ribbing about who has “coached” their students.
Pumping his fist in the air when he knew his egg survived, Josh Hixon was a perfect example of what brings May and others to the egg drop each year, even when they don’t have to be there. It may be educational, but it is also fun.