Throwing Eggs-Backyard Physics


Next to the kitchen table, my back yard (or front yard) is my favorite science laboratory.  It has the added bonus of being easy to clean up.  For this fun, messy experiment, a hose and a few paper towels did the trick. 

My dad, who is a physicist, told me about this great demonstration that teaches kids a little bit about motion and force while letting them do something that they are rarely, if ever, allowed to do- throw eggs!  All you need is a sheet, some clothespins or string, raw eggs, and some paper.  You could use newspaper or easel paper.  It is just to make cleaning up easier.  I also used a portable table turned on its side as a wall, but you could just use a wall and have your child hose it off when you are finished.

Hang the sheet up from a tree, if you have one.  If you don’t have a tree, you could hang it from anything else, or have two tall children or adults hold it.  Then have two children hold the bottom of the sheet up, or tie it to chairs  so it makes a J shape when you view it from the side.  The idea is to keep the eggs from hitting the ground and breaking. 


Have your child throw a raw egg at the sheet as hard as they can.  It won’t break because the sheet slows the egg down.  The law of motion says that the faster you change speed, the greater the force.  When you change the speed of the egg slowly, like the sheet does, it lessens the force of the egg stopping and the egg remains intact.

Now, put some paper on a wall (or table like we did.)  Have your child throw the egg at the wall.  They will see what happens when something stops fast.  Once again, the law of motion rules.  When you change the speed of the egg quickly, it stops with a lot of force.  SPLAT.  My kids loved this part.  I had to stop them from using all my eggs. 


Tell them that this is one reason they put airbags in cars.  If a car is moving and hits something, causing it to stop very quickly, the airbag act like the sheet, slowing the person in the car down and greatly reducing the amount of force they might hit the dashboard with. 

Have your child record their results in their science notebook, if they want to.  They can write or draw what they did, write the word force and record how many eggs they threw and which ones broke. 

Finally, make sure they wash their hands when they’re done playing and cleaning up.  Remind them that raw eggs can have a bacteria called Salmonella living in them and on them. 

Have fun!

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2 Responses to “Throwing Eggs-Backyard Physics”

  1. ranireads Says:

    You are a very fun mommy!!!

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