Museum at Home: Egg Drop Inertia
In this experiment courtesy of Steve Spangler Science, your family will discover how gravity makes saving a falling egg easier than it sounds! You'll demonstrate gravity, motion, and other forces while wowing your kids with this science trick.
The Egg Drop is a classic science demonstration that illustrates Newton's Laws of Motion, namely inertia. The challenge sounds so simple—just get the egg into the glass of water, but there are a few obstacles. The egg is perched high above the water on a cardboard tube, and a pie plate sits between the tube and the water.
Still think it's easy? Sir Isaac Newton does.
- Cardboard tube
- Pie pan
- A large drinking glass
- Tray (optional)
- Coloring Tablets (optional)
- Fill the large drinking glass about three-quarters full with water.
- Center a pie pan on top of the glass.
- Place the cardboard tube on the pie plate, positioning it directly over the water.
- Carefully set the egg on top of the cardboard tube.
- With your writing hand, smack the edge of the pie pan horizontally. Don't swing up, and don't swing down! It’s important that you hit the pie pan horizontally and use a pretty solid hit, so plan on chasing the plate and tube.
- Your astonished guests will watch the egg plop nicely into the water. It’s even more fun to watch someone else try to drop the egg.
What's going on:
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. Did someone get wet?
Take It Further
- Add coloring to the water in your egg drop for added effect.
- Try testing longer tubes, more or less water, different liquids in the glass, different water containers, and heavier or lighter falling objects.
- Worried about the potential mess? You can also try this with a cup, an index card, and a penny!
Share your discoveries with us by using #TCMatHome on social media!