As a group activity, perpetuating the spinning motion of stone eggs with a round board is unique. This curriculum is being developed as a valuable teaching and learning tool for educators providing them with methods and applications to lead egg-splorations*. Today, there are 2000 school sites sharing this activity with students. The applications are each unique. People need not speak the same language to play this game. All seem to enjoy it, outreach continues to grow…
For a moment regard the planet as if it were a spinning egg shaped object. Observe the pace, the way things seem to be spinning, sometimes out of control. Life can be chaotic. As the struggle for limited resources continues people war mirroring the cataclysmic nature of mother Earth – cooperative and calming media are important especially in schools. There has never been a better time to challenge groups of people to work together figuring out just what it takes to keep an egg spinning. Students gain great enjoyment and reassurance from succeeding with these egg-splorations*.
The egg game, to the best of my knowledge, was played for the first time in 1987 in Nashville, TN. where a group of friends discovered that it was possible to perpetuate the spinning motion of a stone egg with a round table. Although there seems to be no record of people or culture having any activity like this, my friends and I, and many who played the game later – felt like it must have been played for eons. After conducting a patent search, it was discovered that in 1956 perpetuating the motion of a spinning object with a flat surface was catalogued. The pictorial reference indicated a top with a spindle on a round surface. The recommendation of our patent attorney was to begin copy writing my material.
Eggs are of a primal form. If the folks responsible for drafting the patent had intended their activity to be practiced with eggs, we are confident they would have drawn their references as such. It is also not possible to get a top up and spinning without touching it, which is the authentic way to start the egg game…
For the past ten years we’ve been working with schools. With this new media for exploring communication and cooperation we are navigating the broad field of education. We hope you can apply this curriculum holistically to your students. We’ve discovered a wide variety of departments that seem to benefit from our materials. Science teachers are able to teach physics with the game. Early childhood educators find it teaches eye hand coordination, dexterity, and sharing towards cooperation. Counselors use our game as a mediating tool. Physical education programs explore more active aspects of the game. This game enables experiential educators to teach team building. The applications continue to grow.
We are eager to share our observations and methods with you, and also eager to receive your feedback. Students will develop new methods of play – please encourage them to write about and contribute their egg-speriences*. We thank you in advance for sharing your ideas and findings with our Forum. This is a game of actual reality in a virtual world. Please assist the web site in building and preserving its strong foundation…
Thanks for your support*
Erich Jonas, Founder.
The Original Egg Game
egg-sploration* #1 ~ Getting Started – Open Video
- The first instruction we give any group is – circle up around the boards.
- Early childhood educators generally start with their students sitting down.
- Players should be spaced evenly, sharing the weight of the board.
- There are no real rules or regulations, winners or losers, there is one condition.
- Try to keep the height of the board near the mid section of the smallest player.
- One person starts the game by spinning the egg pointy end down.
- Players work together to give the egg a down and upward path to travel on.
- As the egg moves across the board, friction and gravity increase and decrease its rotation.
- As you learn to control an egg, it will spin indefinitely the result of friction and gravity.
For 4-6 year olds, start play with board on the ground. It may be easier to start by boiling a dozen eggs and giving an egg to each child. Get each student to personalize their egg. Have the children pass the eggs around the circle observing them and describing them. As the younger children learn to spin their egg, encourage them to peel and eat it. The group is now ready to stand and attempt to hold the board level. Get one child at a time to spin an egg while the other players hold the board level. With practice and your guidance, the younger teams will accomplish this goal.
egg-sploration* #2 ~ Spinning Eggs – Open Video
There are several different ways to spin an egg. Here are a few possibilities …
- Using thumb and middle finger, get your students to try to snap their fingers. Place the egg between thumb and middle finger as close to the top of the egg as possible. Pointy end down, press the egg into the board and snap your fingers.
- Younger students may need to use the two-hand method. Grasp the egg between the palm of your hands. As if you were rolling playdough or heating up your hands rub one hand back and one hand forward pushing the egg down into the board and spinning …
- Getting an egg up and spinning without touching it. This is a more advanced method of play and requires much practice. Place the egg on its side, heavy end pointed in towards the midpoint of the board. Place egg about half way between the midpoint and the edge of board. Start by attempting to roll the egg around the midpoint in a controlled fashion. Attempt to speed up the rolling egg, eventually it will stand and spin. It is much easier to accomplish this challenge in pairs. Once three or four people have figured it out, try it with a larger group. Try two or more eggs at once as described above.
egg-sploration* #3 ~ Spinning Multiple Eggs – Open Video
The goal here is to keep as many eggs spinning as there are players. This will take practice. Here are some pointers that might make it easier for players to succeed:
When spinning in a second egg, both eggs need to be spinning in the same direction. It is significant that the planet spins in the counter clockwise direction. In the northern hemisphere if you are having a hard time keeping two or more eggs spinning try spinning them in the counter clockwise direction. And the opposite south of the equator.
After players have the first eggs momentum under their control, level out the board and snap a second egg into the same area of the first egg. If you can get these two eggs to collide as you set the second one in motion, they will equalize and hopefully spin as a pair. Bend the board slightly with your thumbs. Try to get the eggs to collide. Collision is kinetic energy. When objects collide they share energy and will equalize and travel together. Once you’ve got the method down for two eggs, add additional eggs in the same fashion.
~Practice bending and flexing the board to steer an egg where you want it to go.
~Add more eggs to the board using this technique.
egg-sploration* #4 ~ Teaching Science With The Egg Game – Open Video
The egg game works well as a science teaching tool. Students can explore key principles in physics ~ friction, gravity, potential energy, and kinetic energy while working in a hands-on way as a group. Earth science classrooms can use the game to explore late mesozoic sea creatures – the fossil composition of crystalline limestone. Also the Tethys Seaway, and theplate tectonic triple junction in Pakistan.
Another not so obvious discussion involves relating the movement of the spinning eggs to the eliptical path of the planets. Also, clockwise versus counter clockwise rotations and the coreolis effect. Seven of the known planets in our solar system spin in the counter clockwise direction. Earth is one of those planets…
Friction and gravity are the forces that seem to do the most to keep the eggs spinning. Potential energy, or the energy of position is another key force in this equation. If you give an object altitude, you increase its potential energy. By increasing and decreasing potential energy we are able to establish momentum. If we create surplus energy, expend it, and recharge the egg to a new altitude on the opposite side of the board play will continue indefinitely.
Here is an egg-cercise* for you to try that might help to make the concept more clear for your students. Outdoors preferably with plenty of space between people, break the group up into pairs. Give each pair one egg to work with. Before they spin the egg, warm them up by having them hold the board, arms extended, at the 6 o’clock position. Rotate the board from fully extended to the right, the 3 o’clock position, to fully extended to the left, the 9 o’clock position.
Once they’ve demonstrated that they are in a comfortable rhythm, and that their arms are relaxed and fully extended, instruct the students to stop the board level at the 6 o’clock position. Have them spin the egg near the center of the board in the counter clockwise direction. Have them continue the rocking motion, attempting to keep the egg spinning in the center of the board. Remind them of how water in a bucket tends to stay in the bucket when it is moved in this fashion. If you draw this parallel, they will see the logic in the forces that are at work here.
With egg-sperience*, they will be able to give an egg vertical elevation above the lip of the board while the egg spins in a controlled fashion. Next, bring the egg back down on to the surface of the board and play on through to the opposite side. By increasing and decreasing potential energy in conjunction with friction and gravity, we establish momentum. This is the potential energy dynamo – we hope you find it fascinating. Why is this different than trying to accelerate an eggs rotation by simply increasing and decreasing the height of the board?
Another topic to explore is kinetic energy – the energy of contact. When two objects collide, inevitably one of those objects is more highly charged than the other. In this case, the egg that is spinning faster will share its charge with the other egg. Upon collision, those two objects end up at a median energy, faster than the slow egg and slower than the fast egg. A group of eggs will follow the same pattern; the larger the group, the larger the amount of kinetic energy. Eventually, a pack of eggs will synchronize. The way we extend play with several eggs at once is through this synchronization process. Eggs must continually achieve kinetic equalization for students to maintain team play with several eggs for any length of time.
In order to do this we must explore and understand further the nature of concave and convex surfaces. For the most part every egg game board has a concave side and a convex side. When we sticker the boards we put the made in Montana sticker on the concave side. Sometimes if a board sits outside facing the sun it will cup towards the warmth. A concave surface holds water and is easier to play on than a convex surface – one that sheds water. Have your students identify and use this to their advantage. By bending the board with their thumbs and wrists they can establish a concave surface for the eggs to travel on encouraging the eggs to collide.
Certainly no curriculum is complete without the extra credit category. Clearly a physics grad student could do a dissertation on the egg game. When you think about all the various forces at work on an egg it boggles the mind. Here’s another challenge — lay an egg on its side about half way between the mid-point and the edge of the board. Point the heavy end of the egg in towards the center of the board and try getting it to roll around the mid-point in a controlled fashion. As the egg rolls faster it will stand up and start spinning. How can we explain this scientifically? Centrifugal force and friction work hand in hand. The rotary motion of the egg plus the boards ability to keep the egg spinning the result of friction, make the egg stand and spin. Let’s learn more about centripetal and centrifugal force take a look @ http://phun.physics.virginia.edu/topics/centrifugal.html
egg-sploration* #5 ~ Other interesting applications … – Open Video
Throwing the egg up in the air ~ flipping board over. There are lots of variations on this theme. If you drop your egg on the floor and it is still spinning, slide the board under it, pick it up and keep on playing!
Dropping the egg off the board, and tapping it back up onto the board with your foot or knee. An interesting challenge that demands persistence. Best if practiced outdoors with plenty of space. Think foot bag (Hackey Sac) and you’ll get it. Try using the left foot and dropping the egg off the right side of the board – cross foot behind right leg and tap egg back up on board with flat bottom of shoe. Also try dropping the egg on your knee, the upper side of your lower thigh, and rebounding it back up on the board.
The whirling dervish ~ We recommend you try this one outdoors. Practice with either the small or medium board. Spin the egg and hold the board in both hands. Once you’ve got the egg spinning swiftly, get it to stop travel near the center spot, and coast in place. Now start spinning in circles and stretch out your hands in front of you, while tilting the board up towards your face. As you spin, the egg will stay in the same place spinning, provided you are moving at the right velocity in a balanced way. Timing is everything. Your spinning direction and velocity need to match the eggs. If your egg is spinning in the counter clock-wise direction, you will need to spin in that same direction. If the egg is spinning fast, you will need to spin fast as well. Remember, find the pace that’s right for you …
egg-sploration #6 ~ Passing Eggs – Open Video
Passing eggs from board to board can be great fun. Working with teams of two, line up your teams and get them to stretch out those arms. At one end of the line start an egg, instruct the players to control and pass the egg to the next team. Eventually students will be able to successfully pass the egg down the line and back. When they have it figured out, add another egg – A great way to get larger groups interacting. It’s also fun for smaller groups to try passing around an egg with the smaller boards. This activity can evolve into a team sport where players try moving a spinning egg down a playing field and attempt to score by dropping the egg into a goal.
Also fun is passing a board with an egg spinning on it. Start by passing the board back and forth attempting to keep it level to the ground s you pass it. Once you’ve got the pass then spin an egg on the board and pass board and egg. It’s interesting how the two can stay together while flying through the air. What does this teach us about gravity?
egg-sploration* #7 ~ Competitive Play – Open Video
An interesting challenge is to spin one egg in one direction and the other egg in the opposite direction. If you have two players this can add a competitive aspect to the game. It is also a good challenge for a group of people. Often times students are curious about how to win at this game. If they must win or loose, have them attempt to keep their egg spinning the longest. Another interesting application worth egg-sploring*.
egg-sploration* #8 ~ Artwork
Your students might be interested in submitting photographs of the art work they create on the boards to be posted on the egg game web site. I am sure you have some brilliant students and we would love to be supportive of their work. Classrooms have created mandalas on their boards establishing team spirit with this work. Schools ideally have a set of boards in each classroom. At the end of each year you can auction these boards off as a part of your fund raising efforts and replace them to begin again, mile marking your learning with rings on the mandala … Some interesting art based ideas for you to consider…
egg-sploration* #9 ~ Using the Egg Game as a Mediating Tool
We have school counsellors and therapists using this game with their students and patients as a way to establish or re-establish communication. The idea is that as a metaphor, succeeding at keeping an egg spinning is parallel to achieving a successful dialogue. Anthropology teaches us that up to 90% of all communication is non-verbal. People do not even need to speak the same language in order to play this game. Clearly there are words that can be helpful if shared with your students, or patients, prior to them playing. We encourage you to have them read theseegg-splorations*.
Students can be at odds with one another for a variety of reasons. Whether you try this in the classroom – or send them elsewhere to work it out with a neutral party is entirely up to you. The goal is to get two people to keep two eggs spinning. If the students are younger and not able to keep two eggs spinning, one will suffice. Ask them to focus entirely on the task at hand. Once they have their egg spinning ask them key questions about why they are having difficulty. Undoubtedly, it will be more difficult for them to keep the egg spinning while focusing on another subject.
Encourage your students to persist and attempt to work through these issues while keeping their egg spinning. Another great challenge is to try to get the egg up and spinning without touching it using the method described in egg-sploration* #2. A dysfunctional group may not be able to succeed at this challenge without assistance. After they have attempted and failed, show each person individually how it is done. Once both people have succeeded with you, have them try again together. This method can demonstrate the importance of seeking outside help with problem solving.
Peace keeping is extremely important in this day and age. Diplomacy has never been an easy field. Cultures struggle with language and ideological barriers. This activity is a wild card. It captivates an audience and can mean many different things to many different people. We encourage you to make peace keeping applications with confidence, knowing that if groups can achieve success with these egg-cercises* they will also be able to succeed in their interpersonal communications. Remember ~ the planet being somewhat of a spinning egg shaped object, there has never been a better time to get people working together to figure out what it takes to keep an egg spinning …
Try it for your first day of school assembly, or for a field day event. Makes great ice-breaker for the weekly staff meetings.