Press Release for Thursday, April 10, 2008

Local Fifth Graders Get 'Egg-Stra' Engineering Focus at UNF

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida’s School of Engineering and the UNF Community Outreach Council, in conjunction with corporate sponsor HDR Engineering, Inc., will hold an Egg Drop Competition at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 11, in the courtyard of UNF’s Science and Engineering Building (Building 50).

The Egg Drop Competition encourages local fifth graders from Sallye B. Mathis and S.P. Livingston elementary schools to put their engineering, math and science skills to work in a fun and challenging way. The fifth-grade students will team up to design protective cases for individual eggs, dropping the cases from a second-story platform onto a target below. Teams earn points based on how close to the target the contraption lands, whether the egg lands in one piece and how much their case weighs. Not all awards will be centered on engineering alone as students can also earn certificates and prizes for Most School Spirit, Funkiest Contraption and Best Team Name.

All fifth graders at the participating schools will be visited by UNF engineering students and HDR employees to assist with egg case construction. Each team will receive a bag of assorted building materials to create their case, including cotton balls, masking tape, string, plastic tarp, straws, pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks, Styrofoam peanuts and glue.

While students are having fun, their young minds will be opened to the engineering field. "Engineering is all around us. Nearly everything we touch, see and use in our every day lives has been designed by engineers," said Jean Fryman, UNF engineering outreach, recruiting and events director. "Experience has shown that the best way to help young students realize this is to introduce them to scientific thinking through a combination of field trips, hands-on activities and group discussions with engineers and engineering students."

Recent studies reveal that many of the best and brightest students are eliminated from the ranks of future engineers and scientists because they never consider science and engineering studies in college. As a result, UNF’s School of Engineering developed outreach programs that introduce K-12 students to engineering as a career and to UNF as a competitive engineering school. The goal of the program is to increase the quality, diversity and number of students prepared to major in the field of engineering.