Hens on Minnesota poultry farms produce over 2,800 million eggs each year! Poultry farmers must collect and distribute these eggs to grocery stores quickly to ensure a fresh, high quality product for consumers. How do they do this with so many eggs? Engineering! Engineers design solutions to problems. Agricultural engineers, environmental engineers, mechanical engineers and many others work on solving the problems that face food producers. These engineers have invented machinery, improved production systems and found ways to take care of the environment. Engineers have designed solutions for feeding and housing large numbers of chickens, seeing inside eggs, cleaning, packing and transporting large numbers of eggs and maintaining a clean and healthy environment. This activity lets you be an engineer and design an egg catcher.
Engineering an Egg Catcher
- 9 sheets of 8 ½” x 11″ paper
- 50 cm of masking tape
- Think about this challenge: Design a free-standing egg catcher, using the materials provided, that will safely catch an egg dropped from the height of 1 meter.
- Use one sheet of paper to sketch out your design.
- Create your design using only 8 pages of paper and 50 cm of tape. Your design must be free standing; you cannot hold it or tape it to the floor.
- Put the egg catcher on top of a plastic bag to avoid messes. Test your design by dropping the egg from a height of one meter. A successful design catches an egg without causing it to break or crack.
- Analyze why or why not your catcher was successful. Engineers try new designs and test them repeatedly. What can you do to do produce a better design?
- How long does it take a hen to lay an egg? A hen requires 24-26 hours to produce an egg. In modern hen houses, computers control the lighting, which triggers egg laying. One hen will lay 250-300 million eggs each year.
- Why aren’t there any chicks in the eggs we buy at the grocery store? Table eggs are sold for humans to eat. These eggs are laid by the hen (female) and never fertilized by a rooster (male).
- How is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) connected to eggs and food production?
For a complete Engineer an Egg Catcher lesson and background information, click here!
For further information about the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom program visit www.mda.state.mn.us/maitc or contact Al Withers, Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue Knott, Education Specialist at email@example.com.