Egg experiments for learning science can be fun and easy. Chicken eggs from the grocery store come in standardized sizes and are fairly inexpensive.
Safety note: Be sure to explain safety precautions to children. These experiments use chemicals and heat. Eye and skin protection should be used. Before and after this experiment, be sure to thoroughly clean hands. Be careful with the eggs as you experiment: if they break as you are working they will make a big mess and you will be at risk because of salmonella. Be sure to wash everything (and yourself) with warm, soapy water. You may also want to use a disinfectant, such as vinegar. Disclaimer: All information provided on this site is for entertainment and education purposes only. Using any information from thecasabouquet.com is at your own risk.
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Instructions for egg experiments
A very big cell
- You will be pouring vinegar over the eggs in the jars to observe the changes over a 3-day period.
- How will you find the size of each egg before experimenting? Make a chart for all the measurements you take for the three eggs.
- What other measurements do you need (for the jars, the vinegar?) Add these to your table.
- Think about how you will put the eggs in vinegar for 3 days and what observations you need to record. How often will you check the eggs? Make a chart to record your observations.
- You may want to put plastic wrap over the mouth of the jars and keep them in the refrigerator. After 72 hours, carefully pour the vinegar off the eggs. Rinse them gently with water and pour off.
- Keeping track of which egg is which, carefully dry them with paper towel and repeat the measurements you made before the treatment. Save the eggs for the next investigation. Make a chart to record the new measurements.
Compare the appearance and measurements of the eggs before and after the acid treatment. Would there be a difference between white and brown eggs?
Diffusion and osmosis in animal cells
- Make different solutions to test your three egg cells. For instance, a 10% sugar solution can be made by adding 50 ml of corn syrup to 450 ml of water. A salt solution can be made by adding table salt to water. To make it similar to ocean water, add 1 tbsp (15 cc) to 2 cups (500 ml) of water.
- You will be pouring test solutions over the eggs in the jars to observe changes over 1 to 2 days.
- How will you find the size of each treated egg cell before experimenting? Make a chart for all the measurements you take for the three eggs.
- What other measurements do you need? Think about the solutions and the jars. Add these to your table.
- Think about what observations you need to record as the eggs sit in their “baths.” How often will you check the eggs? Make a chart to record your observations.
- After 24 or 48 hours, carefully pour the liquids off the eggs. Keeping track of which egg is which, carefully dry them with paper towel and repeat the measurements you made before the treatment. Make a chart to record the new measurements. You may wish to take a photograph of your eggs.
Compare the appearance and measurements of the eggs before and after the liquid treatment. Try to explain each solution’s effect on the egg. Was water passing into or out of the egg? Are there other possibilities? How could you design an experiment to test different sugar solutions?
Push the egg into the bottle
- You will need a hardboiled egg. Using the stove or a burner, place the eggs in the bottom of a saucepan. Fill it with enough cold water to cover the eggs. Place the saucepan on a burner over high heat until the water is boiling. Once the water is boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes, and lower the heat to medium high so that the water is lightly boiling. After 10 minutes, remove the saucepan from the burner (be sure to turn it off!) and place the pan in the sink. Run cold water over the eggs until they are cool to touch. Put the eggs in the refrigerator.
- Find a glass bottle that has a mouth just smaller than the egg. A small glass fruit juice bottle may work. You may have to see if using a medium, large, or extra large egg gives you better options with the bottle size.
- Remove the shell from the egg. Set the egg on the bottle and to make sure it is just slightly larger than the opening.
- Cut a piece of newspaper or coffee filter 3 inches by 3 inches. Fold it into a strip about ¾ inches wide.
- Light the match and set the paper on fire. Drop it into the bottle and immediately place the egg on top.
- Watch carefully and record your observations.
What was the air pressure in the bottle and around the bottle before you began? What happens to the air inside the bottle as the paper burns? After the fire goes out, what happens to the air inside the bottle? Which air pressure is greater, inside the bottle or outside?
Now you will have to get the egg out of the bottle. Turn it upside down so that the egg is in the neck. Run hot water over the bottle or blow on it with a hair dryer. Why does this work?
Flying pizza pan egg drop
- You can test motions of a pizza pan, toilet paper tubes, and eggs using a broom handle to apply force.
- Lay the broom flat on the ground. Place one foot on the straw below the stitching, then lift the broom handle with your hands. Is it easy or hard to do? What happens when you let go of the handle? Explain this.
- Place the pizza pan on top of the cups on a table or countertop. Step on the broom and hold the handle so that when let go it will hit the pan. Observe what happens. Describe the directions of the motions.
- Set up the pizza pan again with the 4 tubes standing on it. Carefully observe the motion of the tubes. Does the broom hit the tubes? Which end of a tube is feeling a force? Where does this force come from? Draw sketches showing the falling of the tubes.
- Make a prediction. When eggs are placed on top of the tubes how will they move after the broom hits? (You may want to test this with hard boiled eggs to cut down on the mess). Use the cups to try to catch the eggs according to your prediction. Try it! (Remember, if the eggs break, clean up the mess and yourself with warm, soapy water.)
- You may wish to take a photograph or video of flying eggs.
How do forces affect motion of objects? What if the force doesn’t act directly on an object, just on another nearby object? Does the shape of the object make a difference in how it moves?
- Chicken eggs
- White vinegar
- Jars to hold eggs
- Vinyl measuring tape
- (optional) mass balance
- Corn syrup
- Measuring cup and spoon
- Glass bottle with opening smaller than egg
- Newspaper or coffee filter
- Ruler, scissors
- Pizza pan
- Broom (old style, straw)
- 4 toilet paper tubes
- 4 cups
- paper or notebook for recording results, pen
What is the science?
Content: osmosis, diffusion, force, pressure, Boyle’s Law, ideal gas law
Vinegar is an acid (acetic acid, CH3COOH). White vinegar from the grocery store is usually a 5% solution. Egg shell is calcium carbonate. What is the chemical equation for the reaction of vinegar with calcium carbonate? What gas was in the bubbles you observed?
Different solutions affect cells. Sometimes the cell has more dissolved solute than the solution, sometimes the solutions has more dissolved solute. This will affect if water passes into the cell through the cell membrane or if water passes out.
Air is made of many moving molecules. If two “sets” of air are at the same temperature, they will have the same pressure. If warmed up, the molecules move faster and increase the pressure. When cooled, the molecules will move more slowly, decreasing the pressure.
The broom handle is used to give a push, or force, to the pizza pan. Another force in this experiment is gravity. Does the pizza pan apply a force to the other objects? Does the force of friction play a role?
- General Lab Safety resources from Flinn Scientific. Be sure to check out the Student Safety Contract.
- Online interactive egg drop from Physics Classroom
- 3 insanely cool egg experiments from Playdough to Plato
- Glass bottle from Educational Innovations
Let’s talk story
I love to think of labs that use foods. Egg experiments are a favorite, but potatoes and corn are also fun. You can learn science with ordinary objects from the grocery and hardware stores!
This is an update of experiments that appeared originally in Science Junction, Dr. John Park, editor.