On Sunday, February 24th, the Science Museum of Virginia hosted an Engineering Career Day that was sponsored by the Richmond Joint Engineers Council. There were several engineering groups there, like the IEEE, that had stations set up in the lobby area and provided hands-on experiments as well as career information. Both boys visited groups representing chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering.
The big draw, however, was for the 15th Annual Great Egg Drop Contest. The goal is to create an egg container that is light, but strong enough to prevent a medium-side egg from cracking. There were two divisions for middle school and high school students and each division awarded prizes in three categories: 1) the lightest cushion-type container that hits or comes closest to the target; 2) the lightest parachute-type device that hits or comes closest to the target; and 3) the most creative design.
YoungerSon was going for lightest so he created a padded container from the top of soda bottle attached to a parachute. OlderSon went straight for creative as he built his own version of DaVinci's "Aerial Screw" from wooden dowels and Mylar.
During the competition, both boys dropped their contraptions from 25 feet and attempted to hit the target on the floor below. YoungerSon's parachute got caught by a breeze and drifted away from the target but his egg was intact. OlderSon hit the target and also had his egg survive.
Both boys received 3rd place (and $15) for "Most Creative" in their divisions. Both boys were also interviewed by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and OlderSon was mentioned at the end of the article:
John Hutchinson, a ninth-grader at the Center for Engineering at Highland Springs High School in Henrico County, won third place for creativity for a design inspired by scientist, artist and engineer Leonardo da Vinci.
John assembled his parachute-style "flying screw" using Mylar polyester and dowel rods on Saturday night."I saw it online, and I thought it would be cool to make one like that," he said.