How to Get an Egg into a Bottle: A Science Experiment with a Bit of Magic
Kids play both scientist and magician in this science experiment by performing the seemingly impossible feat of fitting an egg into a jar!
One of our 64 Easy Experiments for Kids, this eye-popping experiment can be completed by kids of various ages, but it will require adult supervision or a grown-up hand for a couple of the steps. It makes use of common items that you might already have on hand so it's easy to squeeze into a down moment at home with the kids. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to fit an egg into a bottle — a quick way to engage kids in a complete a science lesson.
- 1 egg
- A small glass bottle (Make sure you use glass as using a plastic bottle can be very dangerous.) The mouth of the bottle should be small, but at least half the diameter of the egg.
- Stovetop and small pan
- Birthday candles for a variation on the experiment
Step 1: Boil the Egg
Fill up a pot of water and gently drop in the eggs. You might want to boil several eggs to try the experiment a few times, including mixing in the candle variation described below. Bring the water to a boil. Set temperature to medium-high and boil for 20 minutes.
Step 2: Peel the Egg
Remove the eggs from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a cool bowl of water. When the eggs are cool, peel off the shells.
Step 3: Light the Matches
Stand the glass bottle upright with the opening facing up. Light three matches and drop them into the bottle. Wait a second or two.
Step 4: Place the Egg
Place the egg — large end up — onto the bottle's opening.
Step 5: Watch the Magic Happen!
Now sit back...and watch! After the matches extinguish, the egg should start squeezing all the way into the bottle.
Step 6: Try a Variation on the Experiment
- Stick two to three small birthday candles into the small end of one of the peeled eggs. Make sure they are securely in place, but not pushed in deep enough to make the egg fall apart.
- Light the candles.
- Hold the bottle sideways over the lit candles.
- Hold the candles inside the bottle for a few seconds in order to warm up the air inside.
- After a few seconds, fully seal the bottle opening with the egg. Set the bottle down onto a flat surface.
- When the bottle is sealed, the candles may suddenly extinguish, but the egg should slide into the bottle.
Pro tip: Rub butter on the egg to help it slide into the bottle.
Step 7: The Explanation
- When the matches burn, they heat up the air inside the bottle and create a combustion reaction by releasing steam. This process causes the air inside the bottle to expand, forcing some out of the bottle.
- The egg seals the top of the bottle causing the matches to run out of oxygen and extinguish. As the air inside the bottle cools off, the volume of air goes down due to condensation of the water vapor.
- Fun tip: Try to spot the small "cloud" inside the bottle right after the match goes out.
- The lowering of the air volume in the bottle mean less pressure on the egg.
- The force created because of the difference between the air pressure on the outside and the inside of the bottle, pushes the egg down.
Find dozens more science experiments for kids in our STEM Guide.
Photos by the author