This kids’ science activity is a jaw-dropping fun way to teach little Einsteins about the strength of arches. How can a hen sit on an egg and not break it, but a chick can peck its way out?
To find the answer, just walk on eggs. Like our Rainbow Jar activity, it’s a perfect kids science experiment for spring – or anytime!
Follow the simple step-by-step below and then grab 30 more easy-to-follow science experiments kids will beg to repeat (plus a no prep science journal to keep track of their results!) in our shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers!
The prep for this activity just takes a few minutes. First, I gathered together my supplies:
- 4-8 dozen eggs (I bought 5 dozen for less than $9.00, the more the better!)
- Plastic garbage bags or plastic sheeting (to protect the floor)
- Towel (to wipe any gooey feet before my daughter ran off the plastic mat.)
- Socks (optional, but it really helped prevent the eggs from sticking to my daughter’s sticky feet.)
- A camera (I definitely wanted to take a few shots of my child’s egg-static face!)
I used an oil cloth tablecloth to protect the floors from any potential mishaps and with my fidgety four year-old, I was expecting epic proportions of scrambled eggs.
Next, I inspected the eggs for any cracks and placed them all with the pointy side down. I wanted to make sure they were all facing the same direction to make a level walking surface. I thought the rounder side up would be slightly more comfortable for walking.
Finally, I laid the two flats of eggs I bought at the local grocery store side-by-side to make a little egg runway. (You could also use individual cartons – just place them in two rows with the lids facing away from the middle.)
Although the set up for this simple kids’ science activity only took 5 minutes, it seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r for my very eager daughter.
Kids’ Science: Walking on Eggs
Before letting A walk on the eggs, I explained how eggs work. I asked her what she thought would happen if she squeezed an egg. “It would crack all over the place,” she replied. I had her hold a raw egg and give it a good hard squeeze. She was pretty surprised when it didn’t break.
Then, I had her knock the egg against the edge of a bowl and just as it has every time we baked together, it cracked. “Why do you think that happened? What was the difference between the bowl and your hand?” I asked A.
“My hand is soft and the bowl is hard,” she said.
“True,” I replied. Then, I explained that her hand squeezed the egg evenly over the shell and the shell was able to withstand the pressure of the force. The bowl hit just one part of the shell and the force wasn’t spread out, causing it to break. When a hen sits on her eggs, she applies an even pressure (like her hand did) but when a chick pecks its way out, it applies force to a small part of the egg with its hard beak (just like the bowl).
“Now, what do you think will happen if you stand on the eggs?” I asked A.
“They will crack,” she replied, nodding her head knowingly.
“What if you stand with flat feet and apply even pressure like a hen?” I questioned. A just laughed and asked if she could stand on them now. She couldn’t take the suspense any longer!
As her dad helped her up, I reminded her to keep her feet flat and not dig her heels down. She gingerly placed one foot on the eggs and then the other. She carefully stood balanced on the eggs with the biggest “I can’t believe this” grin on her face.
“Can I walk now?” she asked. Finally, the years of gymnastics lessons paid off as she slowly but easily walked down the egg runway. She hopped off the end, stepped right back up and walked up and down the eggs again – laughing the whole time. There were creaking sounds coming from the egg carton, but it was nothing to worry about. (It did make the whole thing a little more suspenseful though!)
A was so excited, she couldn’t wait to share this amazing feat with the girls next door, who had heard we were going to walk on eggs and couldn’t wait to try the kids’ science experiment themselves. Everyone who tried it, even A’s dad, had a blast walking back and forth on the eggs. And we only had one casualty! It happened when A got overly excited to show off and hit an egg with her heel. Oh well.
The Science Behind It
After putting the eggs in a safe spot, A and I sat down to talk about the science behind the experiment. Eggs have a dome or three-dimensional arch shape. The arch evenly distributes the pressure, making the egg strong despite its thinness. We looked at pictures of arches and domes in buildings and bridges on the computer to show how people copied the eggs little secret weapon for strength. Now when we drive through the city, she likes to point out the arches where ever she can find them – in doorways, bridges, even the Seahawks’ Stadium!