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Pumpkin Drop Gives High School Engineering Students Real World Experience

How do you protect a "flying" pumpkin from exploding on impact? A group of engineering students in Indiana ventured outside the classroom to find out.

Several student teams in Jen Yoder's engineering and technology classes recently made their way to the soccer field at Goshen High School in Goshen, each carrying their inventions to be put to the test.

The challenge was to engineer a suitable container with a pumpkin inside that can be dropped from a fire department ladder truck without breaking apart.

"This is really about the problem solving process," Yoder told CBS affiliate WSBT. "Their goal is to make sure their pumpkin survives a drop. We'll start around 25 feet and if they survive from there, we'll go higher."

Students had several guidelines to follow.

"They have some size constraints. They pack it in anything from -- we have balloons this year, we have popcorn which is a first for me, we've had jello in the past, there's bubble wrap, there's newspapers," Yoder said.

Only one team survived the highest level, which was 85 feet.

Students taking part in the pumpkin drop said it was definitely a fun and a different way to learn outside of the classroom, but they did gain some real world experience along the way.

"It's nice to get outside and actually do something with the projects we've been working on," said senior Darrius Farrell. "Instead of just drawing them up and measuring, we can come out there and actually experiment with some of our ideas."

"I would say this is a more in-depth experience than just learning about it, because you can research it all you want, but hands-on learning is going to help you learn more about engineering," said sophomore Caden Hodge.

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