How to Walk on Eggs: Fun Physics for Kids
Do you ever feel like your kids are “walking on eggshells”?
Now you can show your kids how to literally walk on raw eggshells and do something that seems impossible.
That’s right, eggs—those delicate things you have to check at the supermarket to make sure they’re not broken.
In this article, I’ll show you a fun way to find out whether eggs are truly fragile or are actually incredibly architected pieces of nature, built for both strength and weakness.
Why Take the Eggshells Challenge?
In our house, we aren’t concerned about walking on eggshells or treading lightly around sensitive topics. We lay it all out, grab a carton-full of eggs and walk all over them. Saturday afternoons around the Spangler household includes a truckload of eggs and a lot of laughter.
Why not bring this laughter, this sense of wonder and fascination, to your family too?
Despite their reputation for being weak, eggshells are amazingly strong. The egg’s three-dimensional arch shape makes it strongest at the top and bottom.
To test nature’s design, take off all rings. Place an egg in your hand with the top in your fingers and bottom in your palm and squeeze.
If you’re nervous about making a mess, get over it and move on. Science is all about making a giant mess. I’ve written books full of amazing kitchen science experiments that show you how to make things bubble and burn and explode and fly and do all sorts of other cool tricks. Let the kids make a mess. It makes science fun!
If you’re a neat freak who just can’t handle the goo, place the egg in a Ziploc bag or hold it over the sink before squeezing it.
The egg should hold up to the evenly distributed pressure.
Try it again and change the way you hold the egg or replace your jewelry.
The egg may crack and make a mess!
Eggs are strong, but do not hold up to uneven forces or pressure on the sides. This design allows the mother hen to sit on them and the baby chick to peck through.
Ready to take the challenge? Let’s test the weight of your body vs. the strength of eggshells.
Here’s a quick summary of this adventure.
#1: Start the Challenge
To start, spread the plastic garbage bag on the floor and arrange the cartons in two rows. The plastic bag on the floor will catch a lot of the mess if you discover some weak eggs.
Leave the eggs in the carton (the carton will give them additional support).
#2: Egg Check
It is important to make sure the eggs are all oriented in the same way in the cartons.
One end of the egg is more “pointy” and the other is more round. Get all of the tops or bottoms going in the same direction. It doesn’t matter which way.
Also inspect all of the eggs and make sure there aren’t any breaks or fractures in the shells. Make replacements as necessary.
#3: Take Off Your Shoes and Start Walking
Remove your socks and shoes and don’t forget any dirt or toe fuzz. The fuzz doesn’t make a difference, but I don’t want to look at my kids’ dirty feet while they step on my breakfast.
Grab a friend’s hand and step up on the first carton of eggs. Make your foot as flat as possible and distribute your weight evenly across the egg tops.
When you feel brave, shift your weight onto the egg-leg and position your other foot on the second carton of eggs.
#4: Don’t Stop Now
Don’t freak out as the eggs creak and shift a little under your feet.
Walking on eggs is not just for kids! Why don’t you try it, too?
If you find yourself suddenly standing in goo, don’t shift your weight to the other foot or you’ll quickly have both feet in scrambled eggs.
If you’re fortunate enough to skip the foot omelet, carefully step across to the next carton while your friends cheer loudly and snap photos.
The boys and I can’t stop at a few cartons, so we create egg walkways around the kitchen island and down the hall.
My incredibly understanding wife just shakes her head and walks out. That’s our cue to really get creative…
Caution: There’s a high probability that you will break at least a few eggs while attempting the challenge.
Raw eggs carry the danger of Salmonella; it’s very important that you clean up, wash your hands and disinfect the area. Even if you don’t break an egg, it’s a good idea to wash your hands and feet after handling the eggs.
It’s safer to throw the eggs away or put them in the compost pile. If you really want to cook with them, thoroughly clean and disinfect them first.
Some Final Thoughts…
Open up the kitchen cabinets and create a memorable learning experience with your kids. It’ll encourage their already-curious minds to explore and discover, and to ask lots of questions. Take the Walking on Eggs Challenge. It may ignite a passion for learning while “beating” the weekend doldrums.
What do you think? We want to see you walking on eggshells with your kids. Share your success or failure (with pictures!) in the comments below.
Steve Spangler is an author, teacher, toy designer, Emmy award-winning television personality and creator of a huge soda mess. His appearances on television demonstrate his passion for making learning fun. Other posts by Steve Spangler »