Undaunted by looming grey clouds and a flash downpour, dozens of students gathered under cover outside of Keating Elementary School, ready to craft egg-saving contraptions.
Inspired by the book Athlete Vs. Mathlete, the school’s Red Cedar Reading Club challenged students to craft a carrier using a specific set of materials that would protect an uncooked egg from a drop of more than 15 feet.
About 50 kids took on the challenge and the competition had them practicing at home, designing and testing models, and dropping eggs out their bedroom windows.
On the day, shrieks of excitement filled the air as more than 100 students gathered, either setting up their work stations or hovering in groups to watch.
Central Saanich Constable Glen Davies joined the ranks as special guest judge, scrupulously checking each group’s materials against the allowed list, while Central Saanich fire inspector Rob Syverson watched and waited — it would be his duty to clamber up the ladder on the fire truck and lob each egg into the air to meet its fate.
“This is so great,” said Syverson as he waited, watching the inventions take shape.
“They do so many cool things in school now.”
The kids had only 10 minutes to assemble their carriers and as the timer counted down the last minute, the clouds scattered and the sun broke through.
Soon, the carriers were scooped up into baskets and passed up to Syverson, perched precariously on the fire truck’s ladder.
Newspaper parachutes secured with shoelaces, floral foam padding wrapped in tin foil, duct-taped yogurt containers — one by one they flew through the air.
Payton Cameron, in Grade 5, explained one of his friend’s designs as it hit the ground. The egg had been wrapped in newspaper and placed, upside down, in the yogurt container.
“Upside down, because the point of the egg is the strongest,” he explained. Then the container was filled with two cups of water, presumably to absorb the shock of the drop.
And though the contraption make a hearty thunk as it hit the cement, when Davies peeled back the lid, the egg was whole, its shining white shell gleaming in the sunlight amidst a deafening roar of cheers.
Out of 16 eggs, 12 were whole after the drop, earning the successful students a certificate of ‘egg survival,’ though all came away with a new appreciation for gravity, said principal Mary Lynn Heron with a laugh.
“This is amazing just because of the community involvement,” she said. “To have our police and firefighter Rob here is wonderful. And the kids have learned a ton.”