We may be taking the week off but that doesn’t mean the science fun has to end. Here’s a list of some of our favorite egg and Easter themed experiments to try at home.
1. Candy Science
Peeps are a popular Easter treat, but my favorite thing about them is that they are full of air bubbles. This means when you microwave them for about 30 seconds the air inside becomes excited and expands. What started as a little chick becomes a giant. As it cools, there’s less pressure inside and the chick quickly deflates. While you’re at the microwave, try a Cadbury egg. While we know chocolate will melt, different foods melt at different temperatures. Also microwaves work by sending the heat to the middle of the item inside. This means, you can melt the inside of a Cadbury egg faster than the shell by microwaving for about one minute. Keep in mind microwaves vary in power, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your experiments.
2. Jelly Bean Art
There are many pictures online of some of the beautiful mosaics created out of jelly beans. Jelly Belly commissioned several famous works of art in jelly beans for an exhibit including Starry Night, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa and more. You might not have the thousands of jelly beans used in these pictures, but you likely have a few more than you need to eat. Try making your own version of mosaic art with jelly beans.
3. Naked Egg
This experiment takes a little bit of time, but there are lots of ways to add to the basic experiment once you’ve done it once. To get started, place an egg in a bowl of vinegar and give it time. After a day or two, the acid in the vinegar will eat through the basic calcium carbonate shell. There is still a membrane on the egg though, and because it has little holes to allow air inside, osmosis will try to balance the water. There is more water in the vinegar than inside the egg, so the egg will swell as it takes in more water. You’ll end up with a bouncy egg, although you should still take care as the membrane can break. If you’d like to make the egg glow in the dark, you could break a highlighter and empty the liquid in with the vinegar so the egg can absorb the high lighter which will then glow with a black light. Or to continue the lesson in osmosis, reverse the effect by removing the shell-less egg from the vinegar and placing it in a second bowl filled with corn syrup. This time, the water will leave the egg and head into the corn syrup. This leaves you with a shriveled up egg.
4. Egg Bridge
While we are on the subject of eggs, the shape of the egg is incredibly strong. Try squeezing the ends to see how strong it is. Try it over a sink just in case. If you look at architecture, you’ll see several examples of buildings that use this strength. London has an egg shaped art museum, but more frequently you’ll see the arches in bridges. Why not put it to the test yourself by emptying out some eggs. You’ll want at least 4 halves of similar heights. For further instructions on preparing your eggs, try Science Sparks. Once you have those 4 shells, place them in a rectangular shape and pile books on top, one egg for each corner of the book. How many books can you get on top?
5. Egg Geodes
Steve Spangler has some great instructions to create your own egg geodes using emptied egg shells, alum crystals, and colors. Have an adult blow the eggs clean, then prepare the shells to grow crystals in an alum solution. As the instructions include, it will likely help to seed your egg by gluing some crystals in place before placing it in the colored solution. This experiment will take a few days, as the glue will need to dry before you can submerge the egg, and the crystals will need at least 12 hours to grow.
6. The Best Scrambled Eggs
After emptying out eggs for the egg bridge and egg geodes, you’ll have the inside of several eggs. There are several recipes that claim to have the best scrambled eggs, but what does that mean? Test some out to compare. Some things to test – whether you whisk to add air or fluff with a fork and which dairy you add, half-and-half, milk, or cream. Does the pan make a difference?
7. Naturally Dyed Eggs
Although you’ve probably already dyed some eggs, if you’d like to try a hand at dying some the natural way experiment with some of these common ingredients to create a natural dye. Colors of course will depend on which egg you use – brown or white, how concentrated the dye is and how long you allow the egg to soak. Most recipes call for one cup of shredded natural items and one cup of water. Simmer for 15-30 minutes and drain out the solids. Add 1 Tablespoon white vinegar after the items have been strained out to help color set then add your eggs.. Blueberries don’t require the vinegar, and things like tumeric and coffee. If you want to dye with coffee, all you have to do is brew a very strong pot. For tumeric, add one or two Tablespoons to boiling water. For blues, try purple cabbage. For purples, try blueberries, red onion, or red zinger tea. For reds, try beets. For yellows and oranges, try tumeric or yellow onion skins. For brown, try a strong cup of coffee. Make it your own by trying your own ingredient ideas and hypothesizing about the final color. Remember that you are creating a dye, so it may stain clothes, hands or pots.
8. Chinese Tea Eggs
For a different take on colored eggs, try this. Chinese tea eggs involved cracked shells which means the inner egg gets a cool marbled effect while taking on the flavors of the spices used in the coloring including cinnamon, soy sauce, tea and star anise.
9. Dissect a Bulb or a Flower
Look inside a bulb and flower to better understand what’s inside. What makes a bulb different from a seed? Bulbs are the whole life cycle of the plant, meaning the bulb can re-sprout year after year. Seeds are just the final stage before a new baby plant begins to grow.
10. Best Bubbles
Check out Steve Spangler for ideas about the best bubble, from bubble solution to square bubbles. Try to make an unpoppable bubble with glycerin in the mix, or use a hula hoop and a small wading pool to make a giant bubble.