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LIFE SCIENCES: "A Very Big Cell"
Biochemistry of the Egg Shell
Diffusion and Osmosis in Animal Cells

PHYSICAL SCIENCES
Flying Pizza Pan Egg Drop


Using eggs for science experiments can be fun and easy. Chicken eggs from the grocery store come in standardized sizes and are fairly inexpensive. Be careful with the eggs as you experiment - if they break as you are working they will make a big mess and you will be at risk because of salmonella. Be sure to wash everything (and yourself) with warm, soapy water. You may also want to use a disinfectant. Ask for adult permission.

For some of these experiments you will need hardboiled eggs. Ask for adult permission or assistance with using the stove. Place the eggs in the bottom of a saucepan. Fill it with enough cold water to cover the eggs. Place the saucepan on a burner over high heat until the water is boiling. Once the water is boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the saucepan from the burner (be sure to turn it off!) and place the pan in the sink. Run cold water over the eggs until they are cool to touch. Put the eggs in the refrigerator. Any extra eggs that you don't use for experiments can be used for egg salad!


LIFE SCIENCES: "A Very Big Cell"
BIOCHEMISTRY OF THE EGG SHELL
How does the egg shell behave in an acid environment?

NOTE: Vinegar is an acid (acetic acid, CH3COOH).
White vinegar from the grocery store is usually a 5% solution.


Materials
    • 3 raw eggs
    • 3 jars with lids (larger than an egg, clean jelly, olive, or pickle jars)
    • white vinegar, enough to fill the 3 jars
    • measuring tape (vinyl one for sewing is good)
    • kitchen scale (optional)
    • paper towels

Procedures
    You will be pouring vinegar over the eggs in the jars to observe the
    changes over the 3 day period.

    • How will you find the size of each egg before experimenting? Make a chart for all the measurements you take for the three eggs.


    • What other measurements do you need (for the jars, the vinegar?) Add these to your table.


    • Think about how you will put the eggs in vinegar for 3 days and what observations you need to record. How often will you check the eggs? Make a chart to record your observations.


    • After 72 hours, carefully pour the vinegar off the eggs. Rinse them gently with water and pour off. Keeping track of which egg is which, carefully dry them with paper towel and repeat the measurements you made before the treatment. Save the eggs for the next investigation. Make a chart to record the new measurements.

Thinking About It
    Compare the appearance and measurements of the eggs before and after the acid treatment. The egg shell is made of calcium carbonate. Write a sentence describing the reaction of vinegar with calcium carbonate. What other substances contain calcium carbonate?




DIFFUSION AND OSMOSIS IN ANIMAL CELLS
How do different solutions affect an animal cell?
Do substances pass through the cell membrane?

You can make different solutions to test your three egg cells. For instance,
a 10% sugar solution could be made by adding 50 ml of corn syrup to 450 ml
of water. A salt solution can be made by adding table salt to water.


Materials
    • 3 eggs from previous investigation
    • 3 clean jars with lids (larger than the eggs)
    • 3 liquids for testing (such as distilled water, sugar solution, salt solution)
    • measuring tape
    • kitchen scale (optional)
    • paper towels

Procedures
    You will be pouring test solutions over the eggs in the jars to observe
    changes over 1 to 2 days.

    • How will you find the size of each treated egg cell before experimenting? Make a chart for all the measurements you take for the three eggs.


    • What other measurements do you need? Think about the solutions and the jars. Add these to your table.


    • Think about what observations you need to record as the eggs sit in their "baths." How often will you check the eggs? Make a chart to record your observations.


    • After 24 or 48 hours, carefully pour the liquids off the eggs. Keeping track of which egg is which, carefully dry them with paper towel and repeat the measurements you made before the treatment. Make a chart to record the new measurements. You may wish to take a photograph of your eggs.

Thinking About It
    Compare the apearance and measurements of the eggs before and after the liquid treatment. Try to explain each solution's effect on the egg.
    Was water passing into or out of the egg?
    Are there other possibilities?
    Look up the definitions of OSMOSIS and DIFFUSION.
    How are these seen in your experiment?
    How could you design an experiment to test different sugar solutions?




PHYSICAL SCIENCES
FLYING PIZZA PAN EGG DROP
How do forces affect motion of objects?
What if the force doesn't act directly on an object,
just on another nearby object?
Does the shape of the object make a difference in how it moves?

You can test motions of a pizza pan, toilet paper tubes, and eggs
using a broom handle to apply force.


Materials
    • 4 eggs
    • pizza pan
    • 4 empty toilet paper tubes
    • 4 cups
    • broom (a traditional broom works best)



    adapted from the University of Minnesota Physics Demonstrations, http://www.physics.umn.edu/groups/demo/demo_gifs/1F20_35.GIF


Procedures
    • Lay the broom flat on the ground. Place one foot on the straw below the stitching, then lift the broom handle with your hands. Is it easy or hard to do? What happens when you let go of the handle? Explain this.


    • Place the pizza pan on top of the cups on a table or countertop. Step on the broom and hold the handle so that when let go it will hit the pan. Observe what happens. Describe the directions of the motions.


    • Set up the pizza pan again with the 4 tubes standing on it. Carefully observe the motion of the tubes. Does the broom hit the tubes? Which end of a tube is feeling a force? Where does this force come from? Draw sketches showing the falling of the tubes.


    • Make a prediction. When eggs are placed on top of the tubes how will they move after the broom hits? Use the cups to try to catch the eggs according to your prediction. Try it! (Remember, if the eggs break, clean up the mess and yourself with warm, soapy water.)


    • You may wish to take a photograph or video of flying eggs.

Thinking About It
    "Two objects in contact with one another will both move in the same direction when one of the objects has a force applied to it."
    Do you agree or disagree with this sentence from your observations
    of this experiment?
    What is your evidence?




e-mail the author
©1998 Lisa Leonor Grable for Science Junction, NC State University.
All rights reserved.
URL: http://www.ncsu.edu/sciencejunction/station/experiments/eggcellent.html

Last updated 11/22/98.

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