It’s March! And here at the Clay that means eggs. Forget warm weather and flowers, forget lions and lambs; instead, think of the egg and how this versatile breakfast food is also all kinds of science fun!
Yes, in the Cavern of Time, you can join us for Egg-sciting Science our latest Milton’s Marvels of Science demonstration. Messy? Absolutely. More fun than eating bacon? Probably.
I’m going to give you two experiments today and debunk a myth!
Eggs: 6 Raw and 1 Hard Boiled
Egg carton (to fit six eggs, can be cut down to size)
Experiment 1: Egg Spin
So, the first thing you need to do is hard boil one egg. Have students see if they can determine, by visually and physically examining the eggs, which is raw and which is hard boiled.
Now, take your hard boiled egg and your raw egg and give them a spin. Have your kids or your class observe the differences. See if anyone would like to change their guess. Then, have them give the two eggs another spin and try to stop them by simply tapping one finger on top of the eggs.
The hardboiled egg will spin more easily and more quickly. It should also stop completely after one tap. Meanwhile, the raw egg will have a hard time getting started and a hard time getting stopped.
When you spin the hardboiled egg both the shell and the cooked egg inside begin and stop spinning at the same time. However, with the raw egg, the shell starts to spin but it takes a moment for the liquid to start moving. Also, once the liquid has built up momentum, when you stop the shell, the liquid is still in motion and eventually the drag will start the egg moving again.
Experiment 2: Egg Crush
Don’t let the name fool you. You shouldn’t actually crush any eggs. Take your six raw eggs and place them in the half-carton. Make sure each egg is upright and try to pick eggs of approximately the same height. Now, place books one by one on the eggs. (I like to be very dramatic about this, wincing, and closing my eyes while asking the kids if the eggs are holding up.) If you’ve done this right, they won’t break! You’ll still have six perfectly usable, whole raw eggs and some very entertained kids.
Although we think of eggs as fragile, they’re actually formed very closely to nature’s strongest shape, the sphere. Eggs are slightly oval and slightly tapered too, but that’s all about keeping the egg in the nest and making it easier to lay. The curved shape of the egg distributes pressure equally around it, making it tough to break unless you have an egg-tooth, as do baby animals needing to get out of an egg, or the side of a table to act as an egg tooth.
Have your kids wrap their hands around a raw egg and try to break it. Again, the egg’s shape will evenly distribute the pressure they apply so that the egg doesn’t crack.
Bonus Number Two!
There’s a popular myth that on the Vernal Equinox (Thursday, March 20th) one can balance an egg on its head. Well, it is true! The myth part is that you can only do this on the Vernal Equinox. Go ahead. Try it right now! If you’re patient, and have steady hands, you’ll make it happen today!