Fragile! Handle with Care! This Side Up!

based on 6 ratings
Author: Muriel Gerhard

General Science


Middle School

Difficulty of Project



$ 10

Safety Issues

Wear safety goggles, exercise care on ladder. 

Material Availability

Some of materials are readily available from the local supermarket. The packaging materials may be purchased from UPS or Fedex or the US Postal Service.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

1 week. This includes collection, recording and analysis of data, summary of results and completion of bibliography.


To determine which is the best packaging material for keeping fragile items safe during the shipping process.

Materials and Equipment Required

  • 6 cardboard boxes of the same size
  • two dozen eggs
  • packages of packing peanuts
  • Styrofoam, bubble wrap, packing paper
  • ladder
  • tape
  • marker
  • labels


Background Information

On the information level students should research the famous egg drop experiment which is conducted in both high schools and colleges around the country. Students should explore the concepts of force, motion and gravity and Newton`s 2nd Law of Motion.

On the experimental level, this science fair project serves to acquaint students with the essential processes of sciencing such as the importance of the use of a control, of identifying dependent and independent variables, of data collection, of pictorial and graphic presentation of data and of being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings. They take on the role of scientists and in the process they learn to act as one.

Research Terms

  • gravity
  • motion
  • Newton`s Laws of Motion

Research Questions

  • What kinds of materials are currently used to protect items being shipped across the country?
  • Has any research been conducted as to the effectiveness of Styrofoam or bubble wrap?

Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

  • What is a control?  A control is the variable that is not changed in the experiment.
  • What purpose does a control serve? It is used to make comparisons as to what changed or possibly caused the change.
  • What are variables?  Variables are factors that can be changed in an experiment.
  • What is an independent variable? The independent variable is the one that is changed in the experiment.
  • What is a dependent variable? The dependent variable is the one that changes as a result of the change in the independent variable.

Charting and Graphing Data

In each section of the experiment, use charts to display the obtained data such the following sample:

Type of Material Used to Protect Eggs
Observations of 8 ft Drop
Trial 1
Observations of 8 ft Drop
Trial 2
Bubble Wrap
Packing Paper
Control (Just Box)
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