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Egg-Related Activities and Lessons for Easter and All Year

Why not plan a day or a week of activities around eggs? (Why not a month-long curriculum theme?) It'll be tons of fun!

Speaking of TONS... Did you know that more than 250,000 tons (500 million pounds!) of chocolate will be sold this Eastertime? That's more than 36 billion inch-long chocolate eggs! Use those figures to create a great math activity for students in grades 4 and up:

  • If students stretched out all those chocolate Easter eggs end-to-end, how many times would the string of eggs circle the Earth at the Equator?
  • How many times would that string of eggs stretch between New York and Los Angeles and back?
  • How close to the moon would that chocolate "necklace" stretch?

(First, students must find the distances around Earth at its equator, from New York to LA, and from Earth to the moon. According to Fanny Farmer statistics, there'd be enough chocolate eggs to circle Earth twice! Enough chocolate eggs to stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back 11 times! Enough to reach a quarter of the way to the moon!)

Following is a basket full of additional cross-curriculum activities, some of which are Internet-based.

 

THE CLASSIC "EGG-DROP" ACTIVITY

You've probably heard all about this classic egg activity -- or seen it in action! The idea behind the "Egg Drop" is to create a "package" that will protect a raw egg when it's dropped from a height of 8 feet (or whatever height you decide).

Invite students to bring in from home any materials that they might use in fashioning a protective cushion for their egg. Students can work individually or in pairs to create their egg containers. You'll be fascinated by the interesting contraptions your students come up with! Students will use everything from bubble wrap and foam peanuts to peanut butter! (Yep! I heard of a student who packed an egg in peanut butter. It survived the fall, but it broke apart when the student tried to pry it out of jar!) Some students might even attach parachutes to the packaging if you let them!

You might place restrictions on the size of a container.

Once constructed, students are ready to "drop" their eggs from the appointed height. (Want a real test? Drop them from a third-story window!) One helpful hint: Spread a plastic tarp over the spot where eggs will land to protect the floor or ground.


EXTENSION ACTIVITIES

Hands-on science. Create a bouncing egg! using this science experiment. Experiment description: A chicken's egg is enclosed by a shell that has a high calcium content. If a raw egg (shell still intact) is placed in a glass of vinegar, a reaction takes place. The acetic acid in the vinegar will dissolve the eggshell and the egg will bounce. The reaction will begin immediately when the egg is placed in the vinegar but will not be complete for two or three days. After two or three days, the egg will survive a drop of four to five inches.

More hands-on science. (Middle and high school biology.) A similar experiment to the one above is used to demonstrate the properties of Diffusion and Semi-Permeable Membranes.

Language arts and art. Have fun with words that begin with the "ex" letter combination, which (when eggs-agerated) sounds like "eggs" in words such as eggs-cited, eggs-traordinary, and eggs-asperated. Provide students with large, egg-shaped sheets of white paper. Students use cut paper, crayons, and other art materials to create a character for one of their favorite ex words. The character's appearance should in some way "eggs-plain" the word. For example, the egg-shaped character named "eggs-hale" might be wearing a track uniform and be breathing heavily after a long race. The "eggs-pensive" character might be decked out in jewels and driving a Corvette convertible. "Eggs-plode" might… Well, let your students use their imaginations and get carried away!

Citizenship and language arts. Read aloud to students the Aesop fable The Goose With the Golden Eggs. (The whole fable is only a paragraph long.) Invite students to talk about the lesson this famous fable teaches. While you're at it, you might want to read more Aesop's fables from this site. You might even invite kids to write their own lesson fables.

More citizenship. (Middle school and above.) In this hands-on "social experiment," called "Egg Baby" Parenting, each student acts for a week as the "parent" of an egg. Students must carry the "egg baby" wherever they go. The purpose of this project is to allow students to experience some of the responsibilities that are involved in the care of human "babies." At the beginning of class each day there is an "egg check" worth 10 points. This project involves the students' parents.

Read aloud. Three books about eggs are among the best-known and -loved children's books. Choose one to read aloud, or read all three.

  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss turns 50 easy words into magic in this time-honored classic in which Sam-I-Am mounts a determined campaign to convince another Seuss character to eat a plate of green eggs and ham. (Be sure to check out teacher Paula White's Dr. Seuss Booktable for classroom follow-up activities for this book, Horton Hatches the Egg, Scrambled Eggs Super, and other Dr. Seuss books!)
  • Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco. Babushka, known for her exquisite hand-painted eggs, finds Rechenka, a wounded goose, and takes her home. When she's ready to try her wings again, Rechenka accidentally breaks all of Babushka's lovingly crafted eggs. But the next morning Babushka awakens to a miraculous surprise.
  • The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth, illustrated by Louise Darling. Nate, a 12-year-old boy living in New Hampshire, takes over the care of an enormous egg laid by one of the family's hens, and the last thing he expects to hatch from it is a triceratops!

Cultural studies. Students can learn about the traditional Easter eggs of the Ukraine, called pysansky, on numerous Web sites. (Note: Rechenka's Eggs, one of the books in the previous activity is a perfect introduction to these spectacular eggs.) Students might check out Ukranian Easter Eggs, which includes the history of Ukrainian Easter eggs, details about how the eggs are made, and more.

Art. Students in grades 4 and up will enjoy creating Ukrainian Easter eggs using this decorating idea. Eggs, dyes and a white wax crayon are required materials. For younger students: Invite students to use a piece of wax to draw a picture or write a message on a sheet of drawing paper. Then students use watercolor paint to color the paper. Their pictures appear magically!

Cooking. Use some Student Egg Recipes to create dishes such as scrambled eggs, fried eggs, eggs-in-a-poke, and eggwich.

Math problems. (Intermediate grades.) Enjoy mixing eggs and math with the following problems from the Ask Dr. Math Web site.

  • If a chicken and a half lays an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long does it take to get a dozen eggs? (See solution.)
  • There are 10 children going on an Easter egg hunt. Every child finds 10 eggs. Suddenly a mean child steals one egg from each child. How many eggs are left? (See solution.)
  • If an egg weighs 20 grams and half an egg, what does an egg and a half weigh? (See solution.)

More math problems. (For high schoolers.) This puzzle comes from The Grey Labyrinth puzzle site: One December morning after a particularly heavy snowstorm, the power fails. Fortunately, there is still an old wood stove with which you can prepare most of the professors' breakfasts. However one eccentric mathematics professor with a great deal of power and influence at the institute has a peculiar breakfast item which now poses a problem. He likes a single egg boiled for exactly nine minutes. You aren't wearing your watch, and all the clocks in the building are electric. You are able to find two exquisite hourglasses, able to precisely measure in hand-crafted swiss sand seven and four minutes respectively. How quickly using only these two hourglasses can you provide the professor with his egg? (See solution.)

More science. (Elementary grades.) Use the Egg Fun exercise from the Southeastern Michigan Math-Science Learning Coalition to learn about some of the properties of an egg. Among the principles learned:

  • Eggs may look like they are the same size, but they aren't . We can measure the vertical and horizontal lines of eggs to see just how big they are.
  • Eggshells are porous so that air can get in and out of the egg.
  • Many objects roll. Eggs roll and wobble in such a way so that they don't travel very far and so they stay near the mother hen.

History. Collect news clipping about this year's White House egg roll. Invite students to investigate the History of the White House Egg Roll.

Letter writing. Invite students to write Easter letters to family members. Students can print out a sheet of Happy Easter stationery.

 

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2008 Education World


EXCELLENT ARTICLES

"Eggs and Living Things: A Kindergarten Science Project" by Nanci Scali (Writing Notebook: Visions for Learning, Nov-Dec 1992). Describes a kindergarten science project that incorporates writing, mathematics, science, art, and technology as students investigate the question: What is the largest living thing to hatch out of an egg?

"Eggs Across the Curriculum" by John Collins (Mathematics in School, May 1990). Presented is a set of mathematics problems associated with characteristics, production, and consumption of chicken eggs. Student assignment sheets are included.

"Teaching Science" by Michael B. Leydon (Teaching PreK-8, April 1996). Introduces a science activity where students were asked to purchase four different sizes of eggs; weigh the content of each; and determine whether small, medium, large, or extra large eggs are the best buy. Describes the data analysis process. Also introduces various science activities that make use of the egg shell.

"Introducing Prealgebra Skills in an Eggs-citing Way" by Martha Kay Talbert and Virginia Stallings-Roberts (Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Nov-Dec 1994). Describes an activity designed to help students understand the concept of a variable and the process of gathering like terms or simplifying algebraic expressions using egg cartons and plastic eggs.


THE BIGGEST INTERNET EGG SITES

Among the biggest Internet "egg" sites are these two created by egg marketing organizations:

American Egg Board
The AEB is the home of "the incredible edible egg" promotion. Here, egg lovers will find egg recipes, answers to FAQs (with Egg trivia), egg facts, egg nutrition information, and egg industry information. You might check out the site's Eggcyclopedia, a dictionary of egg-related terms.

 

ADDITIONAL SITES OF INTEREST

Eggimals
Use eggs and other materials to create "eggimals" such as the eggosaurus, an eggapus, the eggopotomus, an eggalator, a beggver (beaver), a pegg (pig), and a pegguin! See complete directions on the page on the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency's Web site.

Serve Eggs Safely at Easter
Tips for safe handling of eggs from Iowa State University Extension's Food Safety Project.

The Millikan L'Eggs Experiment
A high school physics lesson from SMILE (Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enhancement).

 

EXTINCT EGGS

Dinosaur Eggs
This site from National Geographic is divided into four sections. The "Hunt" documents scientists' search for dino eggs; "Hatch" lets you see how dino embryos are exposed by researchers; "Model" shows how the embryos might have looked; and "Museum" teaches more about dinosaur babies and parents.

The "Time Capsule Dinosaur Eggs" Project
The Time Capsule Dinosaur Eggs have become a major tourist attraction at the Hunterian Museum (University of Glasgow). These particular eggs appear to contain the remains of dinosaur embryos. State of the art technology has been used to examine the eggs without damaging them and the eggs have visited several Glasgow Hospitals to undergo special CT and MRI scanning treatments.

 

Last updated 03/14/2013

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