Don't Crack Humpty

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Groups of learners are provided with a generic car base and an egg. Their mission: design a device/enclosure to protect the egg on or in the car as it rolls down a ramp with increasing slopes. Learners are expected to perform basic mathematical calculations using their data. Advance preparation to build the ramp is required; detailed instructions are given. Resource includes many materials in PDF and Word formats. Also contains suggestions for assessment, extensions, and scaling for different levels of learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
2 to 4 hours

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • wooden ramp with adjustable incline (6' x 7' 8" track, elevation 0º to 90º) (one per class - see attachment for details on how to build one)
  • 5" x 8" wooden base (1 per group)
  • screw eyes (4 per group)
  • threaded rod to fit through screw eyes or wooden dowel (2 per group)
  • wheels (hobby or cut from a dowel) (4 per group)
  • e-clips or washers (4 per group)
  • stop watches
  • meter stick
  • protractor
  • balance
  • string
  • stapler
  • scissors
  • razor blade
  • eggs (at least one per group)
  • (optional) wooden eggs for practice
  • Assortment of construction materials and supplies, such as: cardboard squares, pipe cleaners, small and large rubber bands, cotton balls, soda straws, craft sticks, masking and scotch tape, soda bottles, super glue, packaging peanuts, paper and plastic cups, bubble wrap, binder clips, staples
  • 6’ x 8” x 1” pine board
  • 20’ of 1” x 3” strapping
  • 6’ x 6” x 1” pine board
  • scrap 1” thick wood
  • 3’ x 4” x 1” pine board
  • 8” x 6” plywood
  • 2 L-brackets
  • 2 door hinges
  • screws


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Beaurivage, Scott ; Riley, Justin ; St. Gelais, Ryan

Source Collection

  • TeachEngineering


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of Colorado, 2013

Funding Source:

  • Pratt & Whitney