These five fun egg-speriments illustrate science principles in a meaningful way. Make a rubbery, naked egg; put ice cream in the oven without melting it*, and more! Can you think of more egg-citing science projects to try?
An egg is covered by a hard shell to help protect the chick growing inside. When the chick is ready to hatch, it breaks the shell open. Try this experiment to find out what a shell is made of:
The eggshell disappeared! But there might be some chalky white stuff left on the egg. This is because vinegar is a type of acid that 'ate' away and dissolved the calcium carbonate that the shell is made out of. (Chalk is also made out of calcium carbonate!) When something dissolves, it breaks into very tiny pieces and mixes with a liquid. You can see it happening if you put a sugar cube into a cup of hot water and stir. The sugar cube disappears as the sugar dissolves into the water.
You might be wondering why the egg white and yolk inside the shell stayed in the shape of an egg even though the shell is gone. This is because the egg has another covering underneath the shell; called a membrane. It is very thin and you can see the yellow yolk through it. The vinegar can't dissolve the egg membrane, but some of it was able to get through the membrane, making the egg swell up.
In the last project, the egg membrane let liquid in, making the egg swell a little bit. Do this project to see if you can get the egg to shrink!
The egg shrank! This is because the egg membrane let a bunch of water pass out of the egg to try to balance how much water was inside the egg and how much water was outside it in the glass. The very tiny parts that make up corn syrup (called molecules) were still too big to pass through the membrane, so none of the corn syrup got inside the egg. The egg lost a lot of water, but didn't get anything to take the water's place, so it looks a little funny! Do you think it would fill up again if you put it in a glass of water? Try it out!
The fact that the egg membrane can let some things through is very important for a baby chick. Air passes through the membrane, just like water did in this experiment, and that allows the baby chick to breathe while it's inside the egg.
This spring try coloring Easter eggs using natural dyes made from edible ingredients. You can make blue, orange, red, yellow, purple, green, and pink—all with ingredients like onions and cabbage! Get an adult to help you. You'll also need several hours to complete the project. Some eggs will need to sit in the dye overnight in the refrigerator to get the deepest colors.
Have an adult hard-boil the eggs for you. Bring water to a boil, add eggs, then continue to boil for about 10 minutes. Remove the eggs from the heat, and rinse them in cold water. Once you have cooked your eggs, you can dye them nearly any color you want! After you pull each egg out of the dye set it in an empty egg carton or on a wire rack to dry. Once each egg is completely dry, gently rub it with a little bit of oil (vegetable or safflower oil works well) on a towel to make it extra shiny!
Purple eggs: Thaw a container of concord grape juice concentrate. Pour enough concentrate to cover an egg completely into a bowl or mug. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Put your hard-boiled egg in, checking it every few minutes until it reaches the desired color.
Blue eggs: Have an adult slice one whole head of red cabbage and add it to a pot of boiling water. Cook the cabbage in boiling water for 20-30 minutes, until the water turns bright blue. To make marbled eggs, put some of the cooked cabbage in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Stir the cabbage and vinegar, then add the egg and wrap it in the cooked cabbage. Leave it for several hours, or even overnight! To make solid blue eggs, pour some of the blue cooking liquid into a mug or bowl, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (the liquid will change colors when you do this), and add an egg. You will need to leave the egg in for several hours to make a pastel blue egg, or for 24 hours to make a deep blue egg.
Green eggs: You will need 1 cup of fresh or frozen spinach, vinegar, and a medium-small cooking pot. Have an adult add the spinach to a pot of boiling water and cook for half an hour, until the water is yellow-green. Pour some of the colored liquid into a bowl, and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to make dye. If you leave the egg in for several hours, this will make a pale green color. To make a darker green, mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with some of the cooked spinach in a bowl. Wrap the spinach around an egg, and leave for several hours.
Yellow Eggs: Fill a mug with enough water to completely cover an egg. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder. Add an egg, and leave it for about one hour to turn it bright yellow! You could also try using blue dye (from red cabbage) with turmeric powder added to make a greenish-yellow egg.
Orange and red eggs: Add the skins (just the papery top layers) of 3-4 yellow onions to a pot of boiling water, and cook for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid into a bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar. For orange eggs let them sit in the dye for up to 3 hours. For red eggs, let them sit in the dye all day, or even overnight!
Pink eggs: You can make a vivid pink dye by using beets. Boil sliced beets (fresh or frozen) in a pot of water for about 30 minutes, or until the water is bright pink. Pour some of the pink water into a mug, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and dip your eggs into the dye, leaving them for up to an hour.
Try some of these ideas to make your natural dyes egg-stra special:
Keep experimenting! You can try boiling your eggs at the same time as you are cooking the vegetables or fruit. Use pomegranate juice instead of water for pinkish-brown eggs. Use apple peels for yellow or green eggs. Use blueberries for blue eggs. What else can you think of to use as a natural dye? Try it out!
Have you ever eaten fresh berries and stained your fingers? The pigments that give vegetables and fruits their color can be used to make dye! When the vegetable is boiled, the pigments escape into the water and make a kind of dye. Vinegar is a natural preservative. Adding vinegar to the dye helps the color stay looking bright.
Why does red cabbage dye eggs blue? Even though the cabbage looks purple, the pigments that came out into the water were blue. Red cabbage contains a pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin actually changes color when you mix it with a strong acid (such as vinegar), which is why the dye looked reddish before you put the egg in. It still dyed eggs blue, because the shell does not have any strong acid in it.
What makes some eggs light colored and some dark colored depends on two things: how strong the dye is, and how long you leave the egg in the dye. We use the word concentration when talking about how strong liquid is. Strong tea is very concentrated, while weak tea is diluted (or made weaker by adding liquid). If you make two cups of tea, one weak and one strong, they both have the same amount of water, but they have different amounts of flavor. For natural Easter egg dyes, we're talking about the concentration of color - is it strong or weak? A dye that looks light-colored will make a light-colored egg, no matter how long you leave it in the dye. The onion skin dye can make either orange or red eggs. When you leave the egg in for a short time, it comes out looking orange. That is because the pigments from the dye have started to stick to the egg, but not completely. When the egg is covered in many pigments, it turns red.
Newton's First Law of Motion, also known as the Law of Inertia, states that an object's velocity will not change unless it is acted on by an outside force. This means an object at rest will stay at rest until a force causes it to move. Likewise, an object in motion will stay in motion until a force acts on it and causes its velocity to change.
The raw egg should have started to turn again. This is because the motion of the liquid within the egg is still going; the force you exerted was not enough to stop both the inertia of the shell and the inertia of the liquid inside of it. If you held the egg longer, you would exert enough force to stop the egg completely. These results demonstrate the Law of Inertia: an object will continue to remain in one state until sufficient outside force acts upon it, either to put it in motion or to bring it to rest.
Have you ever read the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs & Ham. Here's a little pH trick to make some green eggs just like in the book. (Have an adult help you!)
Red cabbage contains pigments called anthocyanins, which change colors when they come in contact with acids (low pH) or bases (high pH), making them a natural pH indicator. When the cabbage juice comes in contact with an acid (like vinegar) it will turn red, but when it is mixed with a base it will turn bluish-green. What does this project tell us about egg whites, then? Egg whites are basic (also called alkaline) and so they turn the red cabbage juice green.