Can you stand on an egg? Can you push on an egg as hard as you can without breaking it? This was a very exciting challenge for my 4 kindergarten classes that I cover prep for, and a challenge that I just had to repeat at home with my own kids! Many classes have been learning about eggs because spring is around the corner, and hopefully the snow will finally decide to stop visiting! I love teaching science and kids love learning about it! So this science experiment for kids filled the rooms and my home with a lot of excitement and curiosity.
I started off with a volunteer holding an egg between their hands. I asked them to push on it, length wise, as hard as they could. As long as they keep their hands straight, the egg will remain together. However, I usually put a garbage can underneath just in case – and because it helps to build the excitement. At this point many of the kids assume that the egg is either hard boiled or a fake egg, so I will crack one into the garbage for them to see that it will in fact break. It’s not magic – it’s science!
We then moved onto our main experiment. I usually put down a plastic cloth on the carpet as I start. Firstly, because if the eggs do crack, it’s easy clean up. Secondly, it builds up students anticipation that a bunch of eggs are going to be broken (or so they think). I lay a cutting board, then the eggs, then another cutting board on top. This helps to distribute the weight.
I have students make a hypothesis for what they think will happen. Usually the consensus is that we are going to have a mess of scrambled eggs. At home, I started with my youngest child and lifted her onto the board. I avoided letting her step on because uneven weight distribution will cause the eggs to crack (trust me). We listened very quietly for any cracking sounds. I lift them off and then nervously lift the board to check the eggs. I have done this with up to about 60 pounds. We have tried 2 students on the boards and even jumping. Students are always amazed and shocked when I lift the cutting board and the eggs are all still whole.
I briefly explain that the shape of the eggs is what allows it to hold the weight – the same idea how a mother hen can sit on her eggs and not break them, yet a baby chick can peck and crack the egg open. The weight being spread out, and the curved shape of the egg is what makes them really strong, yet at the same time so fragile. Isn’t nature amazing?
(Note: Before you put the cutting board on top of the eggs make sure that they are all up the same way (not on their sides). If one egg is considerably taller then the others it will take the weight and crack.)
After visiting the kindergarten classes, I took the eggs home after school and did the experiment with my kids…and then just had some fun. (I wouldn’t usually waste so many eggs, but they had been out of the fridge all day!)
We tested how much weight the eggs could withstand and my kids excitedly ran around the house finding different things to set on top. Finally, with the cutting board covered in books and random objects the eggs did all crack. This science experiment for kids is one that I will continue to repeat year after year.