Magnetic Basket of Eggs

I’ve been wanting to incorporate magnets into my rotation of activities but wasn’t quite sure how to do it.  Then I stumbled upon this idea with plastic easter eggs and I tested it with my littlest one and he LOVED it!  The tots in the class enjoyed it as well and so now, it’s time to share it with everyone!  And it’s a great use for all those plastic eggs you have leftover after the egg hunts!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Plastic Eggs (I used 8/child in my class)
  • Magnetic wands (I got mine from Lakeshore Learning, a local school supply store) OR a strong magnet from your fridge
  • Magnetic objects that fit in the eggs (I used: nuts and washers, paperclips, magnetic chips and metal jingle bells)
  • Non-magnetic objects that fit in the eggs (I used: uncooked macaroni, rocks, pennies and beads)
  • Easter basket
  • Ice cube tray or muffin tin for sorting objectsIMG_5667

To set up:

I placed a few objects in each egg so that they made a fun noise when shaken.  To keep myself organized, I placed all the pennies in pink eggs, all the pasta in the yellow eggs and so on to ensure all the students had eggs with all the different objects in them.

Add the eggs to a small Easter basket.  Provide a magnetic wand and a sorting tray, either an ice cube tray or muffin tin works great! (If you don’t have a fancy magnetic wand like mine, grab a strong magnet from the fridge!  I know you have those letter magnets on your fridge!)

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To play/investigate:

I just left the basket of eggs with the wand and the tray and allowed the tots to investigate on their own.  All sorts of amazing investigations happened when they were left to make up their own “rules”.

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Some opened the eggs up right away and dumped it all out.IMG_5532

Others shook the eggs and put them back in the basket.

Some mixed the eggs in the basket with the wand like a soup.

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Once the tots realized some eggs “stuck” to the wand, the others got curious and started “sticking” eggs to their wands.IMG_5566

As the contents of the eggs were emptied out, the objects started to “stick” to the wand too!  Wow!

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Some objects did not stick to the wand, no matter how much they tried.

Some sorted by “sticky” objects.IMG_5553

Others sorted by the type of object.

IMG_5565Other didn’t sort at all but counted instead!

SO MANY different ways to play and experiment and lots of learning going on with no directions from adults!

My littlest one spent many hours testing out different ways to play before I set this up for my class.  That’s how I knew to be prepared for everything to get all mixed up at the end.

NOTE: If setting up for a class, I recommend pre-filling ALL the eggs and placing in a separate bag for each child.  I also provided 2 dump bins: one for empty eggs and one for the contents.

Science Behind the Activity:

There is so much learning to be had in this activity!  Just the discovery that the eggs are magnetic (“sticky”) is huge!  By shaking the eggs, they can make predictions about what is inside.  By sorting, they can discover which items are magnetic and which are not.  For older kids, they might notice that the “sticky” items are all metal items.  Sorting and counting are fantastic for young kids to order and organize their thoughts and discoveries.

Here’s where I got my magnetic idea from: http://www.modernpreschool.com/2015/03/magnet-science-with-plastic-eggs.html

Peeps Sailboats

How many Peeps did your kids (or maybe, you?) inhale over Easter?  Don’t eat them all!  Set up a little water science activity with some of the Peeps! Your dentist will thank me for this!  Just some simple supplies from around the house is all you need to keep your littles one sugar-free, occupied and sticky.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Peeps
  • Bin of water
  • Scissors
  • Different materials for sails (We used: felt, foam, construction paper and cardstock)
  • Toothpicks
  • Tape

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Cut out triangle shaped sails out of the different materials.  My older superheroes were able to do this on their own, but for the tots in my class, I cut them ahead of time.

Attach a sail to the toothpick with the tape.

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Place the sail into a Peep and repeat with the different materials. IMG_1315 We ended up with 4 Peeps sailboats, each with a different type of sail.IMG_1317

Now it’s time to test the different sails by placing them in the water.  We used small bins, but it would be fun to do in a water table or a small plastic wading pool.

They started blowing on the sails to see how they move

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Some tipped over, others moved quickly, and one barely moved.

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They raced with each other.

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Eventually, they started playing with them and ended up all sticky!IMG_1327

We also noticed that the combination of blue and yellow Peeps in the water turned it green!

The science behind the activity:

There is plenty of room for experimentation with this activity

  • Which of the materials make the best sails?
  • Which spot is the best place to insert the sail?  Do some spots make the boat tip over easier than others?
  • How does the wind affect the movement of the boat?
  • Why do the Peeps float?
  • Might different shapes of sails affect the movement of the boat?
  • Try different types of Peeps (Bunnies vs. Chicks)  How do the different shapes of the Peeps affect their movement and the placement of the sails?

In a larger container of water, races are fun and a discussion of which boats floated the farthest or fastest involves plenty of critical thinking.

For more details and to see where I got my Peep-y idea from, please visit:  http://www.kidsplaybox.com/science-for-kids-easter-science-with-peeps-boats/

Check out my other science activity using Peeps: Dissolving Peeps Experiment

Fizzing Easter Eggs

The tiny tots in my class LOVE baking soda and vinegar experiments and I’ve posted several different variations of them.  Here’s my latest version, just in time for Easter.  So grab an extra pack of eggs at the dollar store and set up this fun experiment in a few minutes!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda (Bunny Powder!)
  • Vinegar (Bunny Juice!)
  • Food coloring (I love my liquid watercolors)
  • Plastic Easter eggs (I have amassed a large collection over the years)
  • Muffin Pan or styrofoam egg carton (cardboard will leak and make a mess)
  • Glitter (because sparkles are FUN)
  • Droppers (I use the ones I get from the pharmacy with my kids’ medications)
  • Cups for the vinegarIMG_1244

To set up:

I placed a dozen halves of plastic easter eggs in my muffin tin.  (You can also use a styrofoam egg container but don’t use the cardboard ones.  Once the vinegar gets added, you will have a leaky mess)I placed about 1/2 tsp of baking soda into each egg and sprinkled some glitter on top.  You could also add some foam bunnies or beads or anything else for some extra fun!

Pour vinegar (Bunny Juice) into small cups.  I used 6 different colors to create a rainbow.  Kids love choosing different colors.

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To play: 

I placed a muffin tin with the eggs in front of each of the tiny tots in my class.  The colored vinegar was ready for them to play with droppers.  The tots already know what to do with the droppers at this point 🙂

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They added their favorite colors to the eggs and watched them bubble and fizz!  So easy!  So fun!  So colorful!

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That’s IT!  See, you can do this at home too!  And the little ones love it!  Adapt it for any seasonal occasion as I did with my Fizzing Leprechaun Pots for St. Patrick’s Day, Fizzing Christmas Trees or as Pumpkin Volcanoes for Halloween.

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 Science Behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fizzy-eggs-easter-baking-soda-science-experiment/

Eggs-periment Part 2 – Investigating Naked Eggs

So now that we know how to make a NAKED egg (giggle, giggle) we can investigate osmosis which is the movement of water through a membrane.  It’s best if you have 4 naked eggs.  If you don’t know how to make a Naked Egg click here.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Naked Eggs (We used 4 and 1 broke)
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Salt
  • Corn Syrup
  • Clear Jars/Cups

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I helped the superheroes take the eggs out of the vinegar that the eggs had been soaking in (to dissolve the shells) and rinsed the outside with water.  Next, we gently placed them back in the clear jars.  Unfortunately, one broke (our salt water egg) so we were left with 3 naked eggs.  We poured water over one egg, water with green food coloring over the 2nd egg and corn syrup over the last egg.  And then we let them sit overnight.

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Left to Right: Water, Green water, Corn Syrup

Because the eggs had absorbed water from the vinegar solution, the egg in the corn syrup began to float (water is less dense than corn syrup so the egg floated a bit).  This will not affect your results.

After 2 days of soaking, the eggs looked like this (from the top):

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Left to right: Water, Green water, Corn syrup

You can see the water egg has turned white again and has gotten bigger.  The egg in the green water has turned green.  Interestingly, the egg in the corn syrup has begun to shrivel up and the yolk is very visible.  We took the eggs out of the jars to investigate them a bit more.

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Left to Right: Raw Egg w/Shell, naked egg in water, Green water naked egg, Corn Syrup Naked egg

I asked the superheroes what they think happened.  The green egg was the easiest for them to understand.  My little superheroes were pretty impressed with the shriveled egg.  I let them hold the eggs and feel the differences between the eggs.

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Egg in water

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Egg in green water

Egg in corn syrup

Egg in corn syrup

And of course, the superheroes completed their observation sheets.IMG_1913

 The Science behind the Experiment:

What is going on with the naked eggs?

Once the shell disappears, a permeable membrane remains.  Permeable means that substances can penetrate (or diffuse into) the membrane, such as water.  This process is called osmosis, the diffusion of water.  Water tends to move from areas of higher water content to lesser water content until the water content on each side of the membrane is equalized.

In the case of the eggs in water and green water, the water content inside the eggs was lower than that outside and so the water moved into the eggs and made them bigger.  The membrane to the egg is also permeable to food coloring so that is why the egg in green water turned green.

In the case of the egg in corn syrup, the water content of corn syrup is lower than that inside the egg so water moved out of the egg and into the corn syrup.  This caused the egg to shrivel up.  If our salt water egg had not broken, what do you think might have happened to the egg?  Test it out to see if your guess (hypothesis) is correct!

Many secondary teachers use this experiment to demonstrate how the membranes inside of our cells work.  Our cell membranes are semi-permeable which means some substance can penetrate the membrane and others cannot.  This characteristic is vital to how materials move in out of out cells and our bodies.

Follow this link for more details about this experiment:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/activity-naked.html

 

Eggs-periment Part 1 – Naked Eggs

The kitchen is the BEST place to look for materials to investigate with your kids.  This past week, we’ve been “eggs-perimenting” with eggs.  The first part is to create a Naked Egg.  WHAT??  Did I say NAKED??  Yes I did!  And that was enough to get the giggles going in our kitchen.  So simple.  Two ingredients that I know you have at home.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Eggs (At least 2 in case they break.  We used 4)
  • Vinegar
  • Clear Jars/Cups

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First I gave raw eggs to the superheroes to touch and observe.  Since mine are young, I had to ask them “probing questions” such as:

  • What color is it?
  • Is it bumpy or smooth?
  • Is it hard or soft?
  • What shape is it?

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Then we carefully added the eggs to the clear jars.  One egg per jar.  Add enough vinegar to cover the egg completely.  The eggs might float and leave the top uncovered.  This is okay.  You will most likely need to change out the vinegar the next day and you can invert it then.

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The superheroes immediately noticed the bubbles on the egg shells.  We talked about what that might be.  They asked if there was baking soda on the outside of the egg since they know that vinegar and baking soda creates bubbles.  I told them it was similar to baking soda but not quite. For those of you with older superheroes, baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate and egg shells are mostly composed of Calcium Carbonate, both of which are bases that react when mixed with an acid such as vinegar (Acetic Acid).

We let the eggs sit overnight in the jars and observed them in the morning.  We started to notice a few things:

  • the eggs looked bigger
  • the egg shells were disappearing
  • there were lots of bubbles on the outside of the egg
  • the eggs looked yellower
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After 1 day, the shell is partially dissolved

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The froth on top is from the dissolved shell.

We discussed what was going on and the superheroes offered their own explanations. We carefully drained the jars of the vinegar and added fresh vinegar to continue to dissolve the shells.  I also gently rubbed on the eggs to scrape some of the shell off (it turns into a powder like coating that you can easily rub off) just to hurry up the process.  The eggs are very delicate at this stage as the only thing holding it together is a thin membrane. You might have noticed this thin membrane coating the inside of an egg shell when you crack them.  We DID end up losing an egg while draining one of the jars.  You can see the membrane floating at the top.

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After 3 days soaking in vinegar, this is what we ended up with.  A naked egg!

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A naked egg vs. a regular raw egg

And of course, the superheroes completed their observation sheets.

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The Science behind the Experiment:

There are a couple of things to note in this experiment.

First, and most obvious, is the dissolution of the egg shells.  As stated above, about 95% of an egg shell is composed of calcium carbonate which is a base.  When an acid like vinegar, also known as Acetic Acid, is added, the two chemicals neutralize each other, thus leading to the disappearance of the shell.  The bubbles that you see are carbonate ions from the shell that turn into carbon dioxide in this acid-base reaction.

Second is the obvious change in size of the eggs.  Once the shell disappears, a permeable membrane remains.  Permeable means that some substances can penetrate (or diffuse into) the membrane, such as water.  This process is called osmosis, the diffusion of water.  Many secondary teachers use this experiment to demonstrate how the membranes inside of our cells work.  (More on this in Part 2 of the Eggs-periment).

Follow this link for more details about this experiment:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/activity-naked.html