This post is by regular contributor Ali Wright of At Home With Ali.
My kids love a bit of science and experimentation. ‘Bouncy eggs’ is a fun and easy experiment that we have tried a number of times. This experiment takes one week – over that time you discover what happens when you leave one egg in a glass of vinegar and one in water – will there be a difference? Will they still look the same? Will they be gross and a bit stinky?
Before we get to the nuts and bolts of the experiment I have a few tips learned from experience. It is a good idea for the whole household to know you are conducting a very important science experiment – otherwise a well intentioned person may ‘clean up’ the experiment halfway through! Labelling is important – you can quickly forget how long the egg has been soaking and it does need to run for 7 days. I have two children but when we first conducted this experiment we only soaked one egg in vinegar. The kids fought over that egg, one of them poked their finger right through the egg part way through the experiment. There were a lot of tears about a ruined experiment! Now each kid has their own labelled egg. I also add different coloured food dye to the jars so that each child knows exactly which egg is theirs.
You will need:
- Glass jars (you don’t need the lids)
- Labels or a permanent marker
- White vinegar
- Food dye – at least two different colours (optional)
- A watchful eye!
- Label each glass jar with the date and either ‘water’ or ‘vinegar’.
- Fill one (or more) jar/s with vinegar and one with water until approximately two-thirds full.
- Add a small drop of food dye to each jar (optional). Each jar should should have a different colour for easy identification. Don’t make the colour too dark because it is harder to see the eggs.
- Carefully place a whole raw egg into each filled glass jar.
- Watch your eggs. Within a few minutes you will notice that bubbles will appear on the egg soaking in vinegar. Nothing much happens to the egg in water.
- Continue to watch the eggs over 7 days.
- After 7 days take the eggs out of the jars and look at the differences between the egg soaked in vinegar and the egg soaked in water.
There will be lots of interesting changes to the egg soaked in vinegar. The vinegar is an acid which dissolves the egg shell (calcium carbonate) producing lots of bubbles and a brown scum on the surface. Each day my kids scrape off the scum and gently poke their eggs reporting back that they feel soft and rubbery. The egg in water looks the same and feels normal.
The bouncy bit:
After 7 days the eggs can come out of the jars. You will notice that the egg has expanded and become a bit rubbery – this is caused by the vinegar permeating the egg’s membrane once the shell has been dissolved. Hold the egg a short distance over a large bowl and drop it – the egg bounces! Try dropping the egg from a higher and higher height until it smashes. You can try this with the egg soaked in water too (but you will only need to drop it once!)
Are you game to eggs-periment???
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