The summer holidays are here and for all the camps and fun excursions you may have planned, there are going to be times when you are at home and looking for interesting ways to occupy your kids that don’t involve screens.
Today we begin a series where we’ll feature a fun and educational project every week, from STEM-related experiments to cookery projects and games. We’ll keep the projects straightforward and requiring minimal materials and simple set up. We hope they’ll provide at least a few minutes’ distraction and spark some interesting conversations. Write to us with any fun ideas for keeping kids occupied during the summer holidays. We’d love to hear from you.
Project number 1 (STEM)
The naked egg experiment
Suitable for third to eighth graders but younger kids will also find this fun and interesting.
In this experiment the shell is removed from a raw egg (leaving it naked) so that the white and yolk are encased only in the thin membrane. The egg in this state can be studied as if it were one big cell. This is a clever and very visual way to learn about chemical reactions and osmosis, as well as the effects of water and sugar on our bodies.
- 1 raw egg
- 1 wide-mouthed jar or glass with enough space to easily fit the egg
- enough white vinegar to easily cover the egg in the jar or glass twice
- food coloring
- enough corn syrup to cover the egg in the jar or glass
Place the egg in a jar or glass and fill with vinegar to cover. You’ll immediately notice bubbles forming on the shell. These bubbles are the carbon dioxide being released as the calcium carbonate in the egg’s shell reacts with the acetic acid in the vinegar. Leave for 24 hours.
Carefully pour away the old vinegar and notice how soft the egg has become. If you leave it out on a plate for a further 24 hours, it will start to harden up again as it absorbs carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air.
Put the egg back in the jar or glass covered with vinegar and leave for one week. Check it regularly and notice the foam that develops on the surface of the vinegar as the shell is eaten away. Notice how the egg has increased in size as it has absorbed some of the water in the vinegar through the membrane.
Place the egg in a glass or jar and cover with water and a few drops of food coloring. Notice how the colored water passes through the semi-permeable membrane into the egg. This happens through the process of osmosis. This is because the vinegar has higher water content than the egg so the water will naturally pass through the membrane to try to equalize the water concentration levels on each side of it. The egg will bloat and grow in size as it hydrates. The same process occurs when we drink water and hydrate our bodies.
Now pour away the water and fill the cup with corn syrup, which contains less water than the egg. Notice how the egg releases water in an attempt to equalize the water concentration levels on either side of the membrane and starts to shrink in size and become shrivelled and dehydrated. Now think of the cells in your body. Perhaps you’ll think twice before glugging back your next sugary drink!
Let us know if you enjoyed this project with your kids and any feedback! If you are still looking for camps, click here to check out ongoing STEM, Chess & Arts camps!