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Science At Play: Rubber Bones

Post Author: Andrew Fotta
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Hi everyone! Samantha and I are back with another fun experiment you can try at home. Yes, you read the title of this blog post correctly, we are going to show you how to make rubber bones, rubber eggs and more. Still confused? Check out me and Samantha trying this out at our house. Start off by collecting the few simple materials I outline below, then come back here and watch what you can create. We can’t wait to see what you try at home.

Materials to Collect

  • Large cup or bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Eggs
  • Chicken bones
  • Sea shells (optional)

Try it Out!

  1. Put some vinegar in a large cup or a bowl.
  2. Drop in some chicken bones and a couple of eggs.
  3. Be sure to label the date you put your chicken bones and eggs in!
  4. You will want to change the vinegar every couple days or so to keep the reaction going.

What is the Science? 

Both the bones and the egg shell are made of calcium carbonate. Vinegar is acidic, and will dissolve the calcium from the bones and the egg. In the case of the bones, this leaves only collagen, which is flexible. Without calcium, our bones would be rubbery too! In the case of the egg, the shell dissolves, leaving only the membrane beneath, which is also flexible. The acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the calcium carbonate in the eggshell to make calcium acetate plus water and carbon dioxide that you see as bubbles on the surface of the shell.

 Ask Your Young Scientists

  • What do you think the bubbles we see forming on the egg or sea shell mean?
  • What would happen if we didn’t have calcium in our bones?
  • Why do you think the whole bone or egg does not dissolve?

More to Explore

  • Try different types of bones, do they all become flexible?
  • Try different types of eggs (free range, brown vs white) which ones are stronger?
  • Can you protect the egg shell? Try covering part of an egg with a wax crayon before putting it in the vinegar. 

For more information about how increased ocean acidification affects life in the sea and on land:

 

We want to see what you try at home. Share your experiments with us on social media by using the #ScienceAtPlay and tagging @CTScienceCenter.

 

Andrew Fotta is a STEM educator at the Connecticut Science Center. He has currently holds a CT teaching certification for grades K-6, and has spent time in the classroom in nearly all grades, and taught middle school science. In addition to teaching classes for the Science Center, Andrew is also part of a team of educators currently creating new programs aligned with the new Next Generation Science Standards for grades PreK-9. Andrew is an avid photographer, who enjoys blending science and art in his work.