Problem solvers off to an egg-cellent start

Robin Tyler
Robin Tyler

Thursday marked the first grand challenge for students in VAMPY’s Problems You have Never Solved Before: saving an egg from a five story drop! For the past four days, campers have been conducting their own research into ways to save their egg ranging from what structures help their devices absorb the most force to what materials make the most effective parachutes. Students then got to make their ultimate egg-saving contraptions using materials that fit their research — and budget. To construct their devices, students were allowed to spend $50, which doesn’t stretch too far at the VAMPY QuickMart where a popsicle stick will run you $7. In the end, five out of seven eggs survived the five-story drop, with one even surviving another seven-story drop!

After egg drops in the morning, campers immediately dove into their next big challenge: building bridges. Thursday’s bridges consisted only of marshmallows and spaghetti, but campers were still able to get an idea of the challenges they will face as the distance they are expected to span grows longer and the load they must hold gets heavier.

To finish out the day, campers were given some time to work on Pringles packages. Since day one, campers have been scouring their rooms (and those of their counselors) to find materials to construct a container to ship one Pringle in the mail. Students are scored based on the package’s mass, dimensions, and ability to protect the Pringle from becoming Pringle dust. The packages will all be mailed Friday, but the results will be kept secret until they are finally opened during the class’s Pringles party on the last day of camp.

It has been a hectic four days for the problem solving campers, filled with many successes and many cracked eggs, but already the campers are beginning to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the engineering design process that will be continued in all of the exciting projects ahead.