Saturday, December 13, 2014
Saturday Science Experiment: Eggs and Toilet Paper Rolls
The challenge: to see how much weight empty eggshells or toilet paper tubes can hold. If you choose to use egg shells you'll need to empty them first. Sounds like a good project to do after a delicious hot breakfast! After breaking the eggs by tapping them on one end, clean them out really well. You'll need 4 egg shell halves, approximately the same height. You'll want to be careful to not make any large fissure cracks on the eggs. When your egg halves are ready, put them open-side down on a flat surface like a table or counter. Make a prediction- how much weight can the eggshells hold?
Large books are good to use as weight. See how many you can stack on top. What happens if you stack other things on top of the books, like cans of soup? Try it out! Check out the Science Sparks version of this experiment for some hints, tips and pictures of how to be successful with this experiment.
You might also like this Steve Spangler experiment- "Walking on Eggs" although you will need many more eggs to complete it. Why do these experiments work? The dome shape of the egg helps to distribute the weight. Can you brainstorm other places where similar shapes are holding large amounts of weight?
Another variation of this is to see how much weight toilet paper tubes can hold up. Place several toilet paper tubes vertically on a flat surface. Begin adding weight to the top. Make a hypothesis about how much weight you can add without crushing the tubes. If you have someone to spot you, will the toilet paper tubes hold your weight? How many toilet paper tubes do you need to hold your weight? Do you think the column shape of the tubes is a strong shape?
This is a great introduction to design in load bearing structures. Next time you observe a bridge or a construction site see if you can find these shapes with your kids. I would love to hear the results of your experiments. If you try this out, comment below!