Transmogrification or An Eggs-periment

Public schools are still closed, and parents are doing what they can to keep their kids engaged and learning. Some teachers are sending out activities, others are still putting lessons together.

Cover of Science in A Bag by Sandra Markle

We’ve been incorporating some of the ideas we are being sent, but with the age range in our house doing three sets of learning activities can be tough. We’re working through fun activities and trying to bring the learning in: fractions with breadmaking; the concept of diffusion with coloured ice cubes melting in water; hand-eye coordination (and a useful life skill) with sewing dice bags; and playing lots of RPGs because fun!

We’ve taken our potions classes up a notch by combining our lessons on diffusion with some of our other potions lessons.

Removing the Shell From an Egg

I have this book from when I was a kid. It is called Science in a Bag and it’s by Sandra Markle. It’s full of science experiments you can do in a bag. One of them, and my favorite of the bunch, is removing an egg shell.

You fill a bag with vinegar and then add an egg. The acidic nature of the vinegar slowly dissolves the calcium carbonate on the egg.  The kids loved looking at the bubbles that formed on the outside of the shell. We watched it for a few days, and then I washed the egg off in the sink.

The membrane around the egg stays intact, and if you hold it up to the light you can see the yolk. The Rugrats loved touching the shell-less egg. (If you do this, be gentle! Several years ago Rugrat #1 actually popped one.)

An egg without its shell

Shrinking an Egg

So part two of this is new to us. We learned in an earlier experiment about diffusion. Removing an egg shell allowed us to understand membranes.

This part of the experiment allows us to understand diffusion and membranes together.

We took our clean egg (without its shell) and put it into a clean plastic bag. Then we filled the egg with clear corn syrup. The liquid in the egg can pass through the egg’s membrane, but the syrup can’t. In time it shrinks the egg!

Me: Isn’t that weird?

Rugrat#1: Not really. It’s science.

an egg without its shell, and missing some of the liquid inside

Disclaimer: If the shell-less egg weirds you out, this will not be easy for you.

The yolk becomes more visible and the membrane gets loose, like a half empty sack.

It’s like a bag! – Rugrat#3

Growing an Egg

Once we let the egg shrink down, we cleaned it off in water. The Rugrats got to poke at it and touch it.

Then we placed what remained of the egg back into a plastic bag of water and let it sit overnight. Since water can pass through the membrane the size of the egg started to grow.

Rugrat#3 pondered if the shell would grow back. Her brothers explained that wasn’t possible, and we discussed the dissolving of the shell again.

an egg without its shell, reinflated

The egg quickly plumped back up. The liquid inside was strange and we could see things floating in it. After a good feel of it, we disposed of the egg and washed our hands thoroughly.