Naked Eggs

Last week and this week are all about eggs. Every day of last week we read Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by Heller and A Nest Full of Eggs by Jenkins (a book we had out last year), usually right before or after doing an experiment or activity that involved eggs. One such endeavor was to make naked eggs, which are just eggs that have had their shells dissolved by vinegar and are held intact solely by the inner membrane.

This is a great preschool science activity because it's all about hands-on observation. It was so fascinating to ask Silas questions about our experiment and then to listen to his answers; what a window into the way he's learning to figure out the world.

First, we made some observations about our eggs. We noted that they are white and they are hard and that they crack when you drop them. Then we put them in glass cups, covered them with vinegar, and waited to see what happens. I asked Silas what he noticed. "Bubbles!"

On day two, we dumped out the vinegar, rinsed the eggs, and then covered them with fresh vinegar and left them to sit for another day. This time, he noticed a white foam had collected on the surface of the liquid. I asked him where he thought it might have come from. "Water" was his initial answer. "Did we put any water in the cup?" I asked. "No. Vinegar!" he answered, following up with, "I think the foam came from the glass." "Maybe," I said. At this point, it is not at all important that he have the "right" answer. What is important, is that he learn how to observe, to note change, and to have a sense of wonder and a desire to learn more. I see myself as a guide who is helping him to figure things out for himself, not a provider of answers.

On day three, we again dumped out the vinegar and then rinsed the eggs under running water, carefully wiping off the last of the shell residue. We put them in a bowl and I got out two fresh eggs to compare. He noticed that the soaked eggs were soft and a different color. "They're missing their shells!" he said. "I wonder where they went?" I asked.

I wish that I had a picture of his face when he broke the membrane on the first egg and it "exploded!" And then he got to explode the second egg. The egg-y mess was definitely the highlight of the experience.

(Don't worry - we cooked up the exploded eggs and fed them to our dog, Nikita. They didn't go to waste!)

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