two cars crashing into each other during a crash test

Safety Crash Testing

This activity gives students an opportunity to use the engineering design process


To provide students with visual impairments the opportunity to design safety equipment for a vehicle that can protect a raw egg from breaking during a collision

Background Information

A vehicle has safety features designed to protect you in case of an accident. For example, a car has seatbelts, airbags, padded panels, headrests, front and rear bumpers. The engineers who develop these safety features have to take into account the physical features of the human body to determine what is needed. Then, they test these systems using dummies in an actual crash before it is approved for commercial use.



Build a ramp at a 75° angle from the ground. Place the end of the ramp against a wall where the car will crash into after sliding down the ramp. This is a universally accessible activity.


  1. With your team, brainstorm designs for your vehicle’s safety device. Select the most promising design, and decide on which materials you will use.
  2. Keep in mind the egg or its shell cannot be strengthened in any way. The egg cannot be boiled. The egg must be placed in a plastic zip-shut bag before testing. Although you can include anything in your design that will directly or indirectly protect an egg, you cannot interfere with the speed of the car.
  3. Build your prototype safety device for the toy car.
  4. Test out your prototype without the egg to determine if it meets the criteria and the constraints. Improve the ramp if necessary.
  5. Place the egg in a zip-shut bag for easy cleanup. Then, place the bag in the car. Run a test of your system to see if the egg survives the crash.
  6. Did your egg break or survive the crash? What could you have done to improve your safety devices?

NGSS Standards

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution


Pierce, A.J., Karwatka, Dennis. Introduction to Technology. Glencoe / McGraw-Hill, 3rd Edition. 2005, Chapter 14, pages 354 – 355.

This activity was adapted by Yoo Jin Chung and Kate Fraser.

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