What is Defend the Egg?
Defend the Egg is a teambuilding activity that encourages collaboration, problem solving, and creative teamwork. In this exercise, groups are tasked with building a structure out of everyday materials to protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from a high elevation. This engaging and potentially messy activity is suitable for groups of four or five people aged 14 and up.
The objective of Defend the Egg is to foster teamwork, creativity, and wise resource management. Each team must design a structure capable of withstanding a fall of at least fifteen feet, using only the limited materials provided to them. Optionally, you can include additional criteria for judging, such as most creative design or most stylish/visually appealing.
Defend the Egg is an effective tool for illustrating the importance of teamwork and collaboration. After completing the activity, encourage participants to reflect on their group’s process, discuss what worked well, and identify any challenges they encountered.
For a more challenging variation, consider providing no materials other than the egg and instructing participants to find suitable materials from outdoors. To order materials for Defend the Egg and other team building supplies, visit our online store.
Rules for Defend the Egg
- The mission is to protect the egg from cracking using teamwork, creativity, and a good design.
- Each structure will be dropped at least fifteen feet, and should be able to withstand such a fall.
- Each team will only be given limited resources, and must be wise with what they have. No other resources may be used.
- Optional criteria for judging include: most creative design, most stylish/visually appealing, and any other additional awards.
- Decide on an appropriate amount of time (e.g. 20-25 minutes) and instruct teams to begin building their structure with the egg inside.
- Supervise each team as they build their structure.
- When time is up, collect all the structures and drop them from at least 15 feet in elevation to inspect if the eggs survived.
- The winners are the groups that successfully protected the egg. If other awards were chosen, announce those winners also.
Materials needed for Defend the Egg
- Raw eggs: Each team needs at least one raw egg to protect from breaking when dropped from a high elevation.
- Plastic straws: Several plastic straws are required for each team to build their structure. These will be used to provide support and cushioning for the egg.
- Masking or Scotch tape: A limited supply of masking or Scotch tape is needed for each team to construct their structure. This will help hold the materials together.
- Newspaper: Each team needs a section of newspaper to create a protective layer around the egg and absorb impact.
- Additional materials (optional): You may choose to provide additional materials such as popsicle sticks, balloons, or foam for added creativity and protection. These should be distributed sparingly to increase the challenge and encourage resourcefulness.
Setting up for Defend the Egg
To set up for the Defend the Egg icebreaker activity, you will need to create teams of four or five people and provide each team with a raw egg and a limited supply of materials such as plastic straws, tape, and newspaper. It is recommended to use an appropriate setting where making a mess is acceptable and to choose materials that are safe and easy to handle for the participants. The goal of this activity is to protect the egg from breaking when dropped from a high elevation, so be sure to provide enough time for teams to build their structures and supervise them as they work.
How to play Defend the Egg
Set up the teams: I will divide the participants into teams of four or five people each. This is a good team size for effective collaboration and problem-solving.
Distribute materials: Each team will receive one raw egg, a limited supply of materials such as straws, scotch tape, and newspaper. The challenge can be adjusted by providing more or fewer materials to each team. I’ll make sure to choose an appropriate setting where making a mess is acceptable.
Explain the rules: I will explain that the goal is to design a structure that protects the egg from breaking when dropped from a high elevation. The structure must be able to withstand a fall of at least fifteen feet, using only the materials provided to each team. Optionally, additional criteria for judging can include creativity, visual appeal, and other awards as desired.
Monitor progress: While teams are building their structures, I will supervise and provide support when needed. Encouraging teamwork, creative thinking, and wise resource management will be important throughout the activity.
Conduct the drop test: After the allotted time (e.g., 20-25 minutes), collect all the structures for the dramatic finale. Each structure will be dropped or thrown from at least fifteen feet in elevation and then inspected to see if the egg survived. The winners are the groups that successfully protected their eggs. If other awards were included, announce those winners as well.
Reflect on the experience: After the activity, ask participants to reflect on their group’s performance, identifying what worked well, and discussing any challenges they encountered. This will help illustrate the importance of teamwork in achieving a common goal.
A more challenging variation of this icebreaker is to provide no materials (other than the egg) and ask participants to find materials from outdoors.
Benefits of Defend the Egg
- Builds Teamwork: By working together to protect the egg, participants learn to collaborate, communicate, and trust one another.
- Encourages Problem Solving: With limited resources and a challenging mission, teams must think creatively and strategically to come up with a successful design.
- Develops Critical Thinking: Participants must consider the strengths and weaknesses of their design, as well as how it will hold up under pressure.
- Fosters Leadership Skills: In a team setting, participants have the opportunity to take charge, delegate tasks, and make decisions that will impact the group’s success.
- Promotes Fun and Engagement: Defend the Egg is a hands-on and interactive activity that keeps participants engaged and having fun throughout the gameplay.
- Provides an Opportunity for Reflection: After the dramatic finale, participants can reflect on their experience and discuss what worked well, what could have been improved, and how they can apply these lessons to future challenges.
Skills built with Defend the Egg
- Teamwork: This activity emphasizes the importance of collaboration and communication in achieving a common goal. By working together to protect the egg, participants learn to trust each other’s ideas, divide tasks effectively, and support one another.
- Problem Solving: Defend the Egg requires participants to think critically and creatively to find a solution to the challenge of protecting the egg from a high fall. This involves analyzing the materials available, brainstorming ideas, testing prototypes, and adjusting the design as needed.
- Time Management: Participants have a limited amount of time to build their structure, which requires them to plan ahead, prioritize tasks, and work efficiently to complete their project on time.
- Innovation: Defend the Egg encourages participants to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to the challenge. This can help foster a culture of creativity and experimentation in the group.
- Leadership: In a team setting, some individuals may naturally take on leadership roles, while others may contribute in different ways. Defend the Egg provides opportunities for both types of contributions, allowing participants to develop their leadership skills and followership skills.
- Resilience: Even with careful planning and execution, things may not always go as planned. Participants learn to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to unexpected challenges, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
Why I like Defend the Egg
I highly recommend the Defend the Egg icebreaker for any team-building event. As someone who enjoys activities that promote collaboration and creative problem-solving, I find this game to be both engaging and effective in fostering teamwork.
One aspect of Defend the Egg that I appreciate is its simplicity. The objective is clear, and the materials required are easy to obtain. Yet, despite its straightforward nature, the game presents a genuine challenge that requires teams to think critically and work together creatively to find a solution. This balance between simplicity and complexity makes it an accessible yet engaging activity for participants of different ages and abilities.
Furthermore, I like how Defend the Egg can be easily adapted to suit different group sizes and timeframes. The game can be played with teams as small as two people or as large as several dozen, making it a versatile option for various settings. Additionally, the game’s duration can be adjusted to fit the available time, allowing for flexibility in planning.
The use of limited resources also adds an element of strategy and resource management to the game, which I find particularly appealing. It encourages teams to think creatively and make wise decisions about how to allocate their materials, promoting critical thinking skills that are valuable beyond the context of the game.
Finally, the dramatic finale of dropping or throwing the structures from a significant height adds an element of excitement and anticipation that I find hard to resist. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the game that allows participants to see the results of their efforts and celebrate their successes (or learn from their failures).
Overall, Defend the Egg is a fun and engaging icebreaker that promotes teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking. Its versatility and adaptability make it an excellent option for various settings and group sizes, and its exciting finale adds a touch of drama that keeps participants engaged until the very end.
Tips for making Defend the Egg more inclusive
- Provide a variety of materials: Ensure that the materials provided are accessible and usable by people with different abilities. For example, use differently colored straws for team members who may have difficulty distinguishing between similar colors.
- Offer large print instructions: If any written instructions or rules are being used, offer large print versions to accommodate individuals with visual impairments.
- Allow extra time: Consider giving teams with more diverse abilities an extra 5-10 minutes to complete their egg protectors, allowing additional time for communication and collaboration.
- Promote active listening: Encourage everyone on the team to listen carefully to each other’s ideas and concerns during the planning and building process. This can help ensure that everyone feels heard and valued throughout the activity.
- Consider mobility needs: Ensure that the space where teams will build and test their egg protectors is wheelchair accessible, if necessary. Additionally, provide seating options for individuals who may have difficulty standing or walking for extended periods of time.
- Use clear language: Make sure that any instructions or guidelines are communicated in simple, straightforward language to help everyone understand the rules and expectations.
- Provide visual aids: Use diagrams, images, or videos to help demonstrate the goals and requirements of the activity, making it more accessible for those who may struggle with verbal comprehension.
- Encourage teamwork and cooperation: Remind participants that everyone’s ideas and contributions are valuable, and emphasize the importance of working together to achieve a common goal.
- Consider offering accommodations or adaptations: If you know that some participants may require specific accommodations due to disabilities or other challenges, be prepared to offer modifications to the activity, such as allowing extra assistance with building the egg protector or providing audio descriptions for visually impaired individuals.
Reflection questions for Defend the Egg
- What strategies did your team use to protect the egg? This question can help participants reflect on how they approached the challenge and worked together as a group.
- How did you feel when your team’s structure was dropped and you saw if the egg survived? This question can help participants tap into their emotions and consider how they reacted to the success or failure of their team’s design.
- What role did you play in your team’s building process? This question can help participants think about their individual contributions and how they worked together with their teammates.
- What challenges did you face during the building process, and how did you overcome them? This question can help participants identify any obstacles they encountered and consider how they used problem-solving skills to address those challenges.
- How did your team’s design compare to others in terms of creativity, style, and functionality? This question can help participants think about different approaches to the challenge and consider what worked well (or didn’t work so well) for other teams.
- What lessons or insights from this activity do you think could be applied to real-world teamwork scenarios? This question can help participants connect the dots between the egg drop activity and their everyday lives, considering how they might use similar strategies and skills in other contexts.
About the author
Founder & Chief Icebreaker
I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.
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