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Explorit: Eggcellent geodes in the kitchen lab

By From page A5 | May 23, 2014

Easter may have come and gone, but there’s still plenty of colorful fun you can have with some eggs this spring. Try this egg geode activity to practice the scientific method, make something beautiful and learn a little something about eggs in the process.

You will need: about a dozen raw eggs, an egg carton, warm water, a table knife, a spoon, food coloring, rock salt, sea salt and borax. We’re going to experiment with different substances to see which grow the best crystals inside an egg.

First, prepare your eggs. Tap the top of a raw egg shell a few times with the table knife to open the shell. Empty the egg out. You can save the yolk and white to cook with later. Then gently scoop out the egg membrane left inside the shell. We don’t want it to get in the way of our growing crystals.

When all your eggs are empty and ready for their crystals, set them open side up in the egg carton to hold them in place. You might want to cut the lid off your egg carton so you can watch your crystals’ growth.

Now, we’ll mix our first crystal solution. Add some rock salt one spoonful at a time to a half-cup of warm water. Stir it thoroughly so it dissolves in the water.

Keep adding rock salt until it doesn’t dissolve any more. Then add some food coloring and pour the mixture into a couple of eggs. You should have enough for two or three eggs.

For our second crystal solution, add some sea salt one spoonful at a time to a half-cup of warm water and stir until it dissolves. Add a different color of food coloring and then add this mixture to two or three different eggs.

And finally, make a third mixture with borax and warm water. Give it a third color and add it to the remaining eggs. You can also try other substances to make even more eggs, like sugar or baking soda. What can you think of to add to a crystal solution?

Now we wait and watch. It might take up to five days for crystals to finish growing, but you should see some changes within the first day. Make sure not to move your eggs or touch them so you don’t disturb your crystals.

Observe differences among your crystal solutions. Which one grows the biggest crystals? Which crystals grew the fastest?

Did all the crystals grow inside the egg? If not, why not? What happened? What does this tell you about an egg’s shell? What do you think would have happened if we’d left the membrane inside the egg? Try repeating the experiment to find out!

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Explorit’s coming events:

Explorit’s “Beautiful World: Science and Art” exhibition is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday,  and every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free.

Birthday parties are back at Explorit. Call 530-756-0191 for more information or to book your party.

Summer Science Camp is coming, and registration is open now. Visit www.explorit.org for all the details or to register.

Save the date: Our exciting “Final Blast Festival and Chemistry Show” is planned for Sunday, Sept. 7. This event celebrates the end of our Summer Science Camp season and is fun way to start the new school year.

— Explorit Science Center is at 3141 Fifth St. For more information, call 530-756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org, or “like” Explorit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

Lisa Justice

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