Little Miami Intermediate Blog

LMIS students design & test 'crash helmets'

Posted on: October 1, 2015

Note: Due to technical difficulties, there is no audio with this video.

What is the best way to protect the human brain from injury during a fall? Little Miami Intermediate School sixth graders were doing some engineering this week to find the answer.

Students in Stephanie Grieshop’s science and technology class were asked to consider how best to protect the brain and test their solutions on a smaller scale. The task? Create a protective case that would absorb the impact of a fall from five feet. The payload? A pasta shell (representing a skull), filled with a blend of sand and mashed potatoes (representing brain matter).

Using common crafting materials like bubble wrap, cotton balls and craft foam, students created “crash helmets,” keeping in mind a few design parameters: The helmet could not be larger than 3 inches in any direction, and it had to open in easily in one step, like a bicycle helmet.

After the helmets were completed, Grieshop checked to see if each met the design criteria. Then came the drop. Some helmets bounced lightly and preserved their cargo. Some hit the ground with an audible crunch.

The science and technology class at LMIS is a quarterly special, which means students visit Grieshop daily for one quarter. The class was designed to supplement students’ learning in their traditional science class, offering a deeper dive into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.