Incubation and Embryology - University of Illinois

Egg in a Bottle


Science, Language Arts




Students will determine how and why the egg goes into the bottle.


  • narrow-mouthed jar
  • two hard-cooked eggs
  • wooden matches


  1. Peel the shells off the eggs.
  2. Place one of the eggs on the mouth of the jar. What happens? Note: The egg sits there and does not move. There is a balance between the air pressure pushing down on the egg, the air pressure pushing sideways, and the air pushing up from inside the jar. Gravity pulls the egg down, but the bottle pushes it up.
  3. Remove the egg and drop two well lit matches into the jar.
  4. Observe the egg.
  5. Discuss what happened to the egg.

    Note: It was pushed into the jar by the air in the room. It is a misconception to say it was "sucked" into the jar.

    When you changed the balance of pressure, the egg moved. In this experiment, you removed some of the air inside the bottle and it is not able to push up with the same pressure as it did before the experiment. Some of the air was removed during the process of burning the matches. More air was removed when the heated air inside the jar tried to escape. As it heated, it took up more space and it escaped the jar causing the egg to bounce.
  6. Remove the egg by breaking it up with a knife and pouring the contents into a garbage can.
  7. Repeat the experiment, focusing on the bouncing of the egg after it is placed on the mouth of the jar.


What would happen if you did not put the egg on the jar immediately? Hypothesize and experiment to find the answer.

What would happen if you tried this experiment with a small water balloon? Would the balloon be pushed into the container? Explain.

Hint: There must be a seal between the egg and the bottle. If your egg seems to have a gap, you might wet it with water or coat it with a small amount of oil.

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