Physics Instructor Eric Jones helps students build devices to catch falling eggs to cushion their fall

Each year, physics Instructor Eric Jones has his students drop eggs.

But not just drop them anywhere. Students have to design and build a device to protect the egg when it falls. Then they see which device keeps the egg together and why.

With the price of eggs, the project was a little more expensive this year. But it was worth it to drive home the physics behind momentum  – and how to safely reduce an object’s momentum to zero – that is, crash.

“It’s such a fun way of connecting physics with our everyday lives,” he said of the project. He also has students study the use of airbags in car crashes for the momentum unit.

“I spend a lot of time trying to help my students become better problem-solvers. I think that helps them in any career, not just science,” he said.

Going above and beyond to make an impact on students earned Eric Jones the Staff Member of the Month award for December.

Megan Bennett, division chair for fine arts and world languages, whose office is next to Jones’ classroom, said he is often out in the halls to greet students, and starts class with interesting activities or music.

“He exudes positivity, and approaches every student with such care, empathy and respect,” Bennett said. “He is a hidden gem in our school that deserves to be recognized.”

Jones, now in his fifth year at MCHS, teaches only physics classes this year but in the past he’s taught AP physics, astronomy, computer science and geometry. Prior to coming to McHenry, he taught for 12 years at Bartlett High School.

Teaching wasn’t his first career stop. A Cincinnati native, Jones attended the University of Cincinnati where he received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Jones went on to work as a project manager designing electrical circuits for VLSI Technology, which later became part of Philips Semiconductors. 

After about 10 years, he decided to become a teacher and went to Northern Illinois University to earn his teaching certificate. Bartlett High School is where he did his student teaching and continued to teach prior to coming to McHenry.

Jones said he enjoys helping students take information and processes they’ve already learned and apply it to physics. In addition to his work in the classroom, Jones volunteers with the Latin American Student Association (LASO) club at school, and works to improve his Spanish-speaking skills.

To see the video celebrating Jones’ accomplishments, please click here.

The Staff Member of the Month program recognizes MCHS staff members who go above and beyond for the benefit of students. Thanks to the support from Meat and Potato Eatery and Brunch Cafe, each monthly winner receives a gift certificate as well as a plaque.

To learn more about the program, click here.