Building Scientists: Egg Activity
The Council on Foreign Relations recently released the following headline, “Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.” Although this fact is no doubt discouraging, the science future of our preschoolers can improve immediately if we alter our actions today.
Preschoolers have a natural curiosity; they are constantly asking “Why?” The following activity guides your child to ask and answer many questions about a simple, yet incredible egg. Grab a few minutes today and create a fun scenario by introducing a child to two basic science process skills: observation and communication. By engaging in focused and intentional observation and communication, you can encourage a future world scientist; something America desperately needs!
Here’s what you need to get started:
• One egg (any color)
• large, clear, flat-bottomed glass filled with cold water
• colored pencils
• magnifying glass (optional)
• measuring tape (optional)
• camera (optional)
Use the ideas below as a guide to this experiment, but feel free to add your own questions and thoughts. Together, record on paper what your child says or let him or her draw a response to some questions. Remember to keep it fun, this is a play experiment that teaches too!
• What can you tell me about this egg? Try to get a color, shape, size, and texture.
• Use a magnifying glass and let child describe what they see up close. Is there anything different or unusual?
• Wash the egg in soapy water and use the magnifying glass again and state any differences.
• Does it make any sounds? Did you shake it? Does it have a smell? What does it smell like?
• Will the color of the egg inside be the same as the outside color?
• Help them learn reference points by asking then to name an item that is bigger than the egg and an object smaller than an egg.
• Measure the egg with a tape measure - the length and width and record the information on paper. Encourage child to draw an egg and help with writing down the measurements next to the egg.
• Let child share their current information about eggs - where they come from, ways to use an egg, etc. Explain that eggs contain protein and protein helps our body to function.
• Discover if the egg is fresh. Fill up a large, clear, flat-bottomed glass with cold water. Ask child to guess if they think the egg is fresh. Write down their prediction. Now, drop the egg into the glass. A fresh egg drops to the bottom of the glass and rests horizontally on its side. An older egg will tilt to a side, the big end of the egg rises from the bottom and a stale or old egg will float. Encourage the child to describe how the egg looks in the water. Discuss words like float, upright, vertical, predict, observe, etc. Try with different eggs.
• Let child take a picture of the egg in the water with a camera.
• Encourage child to tell you what is inside the egg from their previous experiences with eggs. Can they think of something that is similar in some way to an egg - another food item, something that is white, has a similar shape, etc.
• Do you think the egg has a hard covering or a soft covering? What would you call the outside of the egg?
• Encourage child to touch and squeeze the egg and try to crack with their hands. Let them crack the egg into a bowl.
• Let child describe the insides of the egg in their own words. Encourage the use of color and texture words. Encourage them to point out the yellow, round yolk and the white (clear) part of the egg. Discuss words like thick, gooey, runny, plump, etc.
• List ways to cook the egg - fry, poach, soft-boiled, scrambled, stove top, oven, microwave, campfire.
• Choose a way to cook the egg and draw before and after pictures of how the egg would look.
• After cooking, encourage child to taste the egg. Does it smell different than when it was in the shell?
• Describe the inside of the cooked egg. Describe how the egg feels in your mouth. Is it hard, tasty, mushy, hot, etc. Can you tell me another food that has a similar texture when you eat it?
• Ask child what they want to remember about this egg experience. Do they want to learn more about eggs?
When a child shows interest in any project, learning to continue observations is an important scientific process. Some other ideas could include…
• What would happen if an egg is put into vinegar? Try it! (egg would get rubbery, bouncy and bigger)
• What would happen if an egg is put into corn syrup (Karo)? Try it! (egg would shrink)
• Extend the learning by hard boiling some eggs and compare and contrast the raw and hard boiled eggs. Can child determine which egg is raw or hard-boiled by the above observation skills? Write down their prediction and discover the answer. Was their hypothesis correct?
• The library and the Internet are great resources for learning more about eggs!
This type of questioning develops a young child who can note details and make decisions based on observations. As adults, we need to model these strategies. If Not You, Who? http://www.ifnotyouwho.org offers hundreds of activities like this that help adults prepare children for kindergarten and life. Thanks for stopping by!