CLEARFIELD -- Carefully enshrouded eggs were the center of attention Thursday morning at Wasatch Elementary School.
Students anxiously watched capsules being flung over the side of the school, testing which devices would protect an egg from breaking.
Small groups consisting of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders spent a month creating protective capsules for their eggs. No one knew how the devices would work -- not even the teachers; this was the first time Wasatch Elementary had held the event.
To the students' credit, almost half of the eggs avoided a Humpty-Dumpty end to their journey.
"We didn't think this many would survive," said fourth-grade teacher Kate Hall. "We've never done this before, so it's been really neat to watch the kids work together and come up with the ideas themselves."
Teams had to agree on how they would build their protective covering, keeping in mind the weight and measurement requirements -- no more than 7 inches tall and wide, and weighing no less than 1 pound.
One team of fourth-graders originally wanted to use a sky ball, a helium- and air-filled bouncy ball to protect the egg, but they couldn't locate one. They went with their next-best idea: play dough.
Play dough had a problem, however -- it was too hard. The group improvised even more.
Eventually, they decided to use the play dough container to protect the egg. They also used green foam, bubble wrap and cotton balls inside to protect it. Ultimately, their egg did not survive the fall.
"That was disappointing, but we still had fun," said fourth-grader Tharen Seagrist.
Each capsule had its own unique features using recyclable materials. The most popular were peanut-butter containers or cracker boxes. Nearly all of the teams used cotton balls, Styrofoam, duct tape and bubble wrapping. Several containers had parachutes or balloons hooked to them.
Three of the surviving eggs had unusual contraptions.
One group used a hollowed out Styrofoam egg, cocooning their egg. Another team built a parachute onto their container using plastic bags filled with air, while another team used toilet paper rolls to hold their egg in place, which was then placed inside a plastic egg and filled with cotton balls. All three of those eggs were among the survivors that stayed intact after the fall.
Each team did its own research and used its own materials. The hope was to give the kids more practical experience in applying science, said Matt Malmborg, one of the fourth-grade teachers.
"We tried to get it aligned with our core as much as we could," Malmborg said. "Their lowest scores are in measurement, which is difficult to teach without hands-on activities, so this helped them improve on those skills."
The students also gleaned some real-world experience working as teams, and it wasn't always easy.
"Everybody had their own ideas to start with. Then they came together, and some people had to give in on their ideas, and others who thought their ideas were the best, ended up working together."