I saw this Egg Drop the other day on Ellen – Steve Spangler was there to show more cool experiments and I thought this one would be great to do with the kids!
It worked first time I tried it which was astounding in itself!
The basic idea is that you put an egg on a tube on a plate on a cup 3/4 filled with water and whack the plate out of the way and the egg drops straight into the water! The Laws of Motion in action! A wee bit of gravity and a super simple physics trick to amaze your friends!
What you will need:
Eggs or small round/oval fruit
Toilet roll tubes
Plastic plate or tray
- Fill a large glass 3/4 full of water
- Place the plate on top of the glass
- Place the tube on the plate – centring it over the glass
- Balance the egg or fruit on top of the tube.
- Set your writing hand up approx. 10 cm from the plate, draw your hand back and then firmly whack the plate exactly horizontal – not up or down just straight out with quite a bit of force – enough to clear the plate but not to knock over the glass.
- And watch – the egg will plop straight down into the water!
It is so fun to do and even more fun to see the kids faces as it seems so unlikely to work!
So how does it work? Here are the words from Steve Spangler himself:
“Credit for this one has to go to Sir Isaac Newton and his First Law of Motion. He said that since the egg is not moving while it sits on top of the tube, that’s what it wants to do – not move. You applied enough force to the pie pan to cause it to zip out from under the cardboard tube (there’s not much friction against the drinking glass). The edge of the pie pan hooked the bottom of the tube, which then sailed off with the pan. Basically, you knocked the support out from under the egg. For a brief nanosecond or two, the egg didn’t move because it was already stationary (not moving). But then, as usual, the force of gravity took over and pulled the egg straight down toward the center of the Earth.
Also, according to Mr. Newton’s First Law, once the egg was moving, it didn’t want to stop. The container of water interrupted the egg’s fall, providing a safe place for the egg to stop moving so you could recover it unbroken. The gravity-pushed egg caused the water to splash out.”
Check out more here: Steve Spanglers Egg Drop Inertia Trick
All 3 kids & the husband had a go – little Miss 3 year old just managed to knock everything over but still had fun with the water! But the others all got it first time and we had a blast testing out the egg, an apricot, one tube, two tubes, 2 glasses, failed attempts at 3 tubes and two broken eggs. You could try different things again, a longer tube, a heavier tray, anything you think might work!
I totally recommend you try this out, you have to see it to believe it!
Such simple household items, it takes no time at all to set up. I do recommend you do this one outside, it can get messy when you are fishing around for the egg from the glass, or spilling the water or the egg breaks. Also when handling raw egg make sure everyone washes their hands thoroughly with soapy water when you are done to avoid getting sick.
I used a piece of wood to make the area stable but on the ground or a tray will be fine too.
Hope you have fun with this one – let me know how you get on! 😀