On Tuesday, November 3rd, the girls of Sisters4Science at Woodson got to put their engineering skills to the test and design parachutes for falling eggs! Using plastic trash bags, twine, scissors and a hole punch, they were asked to construct a parachute that would save eggs from cracking when dropped from tall heights. To give the girls some hints on how to start their parachutes, I asked the girls what they already knew about parachutes. Angel told us “Soldiers in the US Air Force use them for rescues”, which is exactly the case! The girls knew that when a soldier jumps out of an airplane, he waits a bit before he ejects his parachute. When pressed for details on why they have to do this, Alana informed us that they have to give time to let the air around them blow the parachute completely up. “That means the parachutes have to be big so that the air can blow them up!” said Oshanti. With that information in mind, the girls set out to make their parachutes. They were allowed to make the parachute into any shape they chose, but they knew that their parachutes should be large enough to allow the eggs to float gently to the ground. Shanika’s group decided to cut their plastic bag into a large circle because it was similar to the parachutes that they used to play with when younger. Other groups opted to use square and rectangular shapes for their parachutes. When all of the groups were done constructing their parachutes, they were finally able to put their creations to the test! Each group was given an egg (wrapped in a Ziplock bag so we didn’t make too much of a mess!) and asked to attach it to their parachute. They then dropped their eggs from a desk and observed which one was the least damaged. After all the egg drops, the group that came out victorious was Alana, Sarah, and Kylie’s group! When I asked them why they thought theirs worked the best, they said it was because their parachute had the most space for the air to inflate their parachute. Exactly! The trick to this experiment was creating a parachute that had enough surface area to let the eggs “float” down. The more surface area on the parachute, the slower the eggs fell. Looks like we’ve got some aeronautical engineers on our hands!