Gummy bear osmosis : Fizzics Education

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Gummy bear osmosis

Gummy bear osmosis

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • A packet of gummy bears
  • Salt
  • At least two bowls
  • Water
  • Optional; sugar, stopwatch and either measuring scales or a ruler

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A packet of gummy bears bext two white bowls, a glass of water and a salt container
1 Pouring water into a bowl

Pour the same amount of water into each of your bowls. You’ll want enough water to be able to immerse your gummy bears in this activity.

2 Pouring salt into a bowl of water

Add salt to one of your bowls of water and leave the other with just plain water. You could also make another bowl with sugar added to it too as an extra experimental test.

3 Placing a red gummy bear into a bowl

Place a gummy bear into each of the bowls. Keep a gummy bear aside as a control for measuring against later. Now it’s time to wait!

4 Swollen red gummy bear in a bowl of water

Over time you’ll find that one of your gummy bears will start to swell. How big can the gummy bear get? That’s up to you to find out!

5 Swollen gummy bear vs normal gummy bear in a child's hand

Look at the difference! Do you know why this worked? Read below!

6

What is happening?

The gummy bear experiment is all about osmosis. This is the process where water will move into areas where there is less water, i.e. from a dilute solution to a more concentrated solution. The gummy bear is semi-permeable to water (i.e it can let water molecules into it but not larger molecules), which means the water was able to move into the gummy bear.

This process happened much faster where the gummy bear was in pure water, as the water concentration difference between pure water and the gummy bear was the greatest. The gummy bear in the saltwater didn’t swell as quickly as the water concentration difference between the saltwater and the gummy bear was less different. We call this difference a concentration gradient. The gummy bear in the saltwater didn’t get as large either as the water stopped moving into the gummy bear once the water concentration in the gummy bear and the saltwater became the same.

Application

Within your body, the cell membrane controls what enters and leaves your cells using osmosis. The different concentrations of sugar, proteins, DNA, and water between the inside and outside of the cell allows for the materials to flows in and out of the cell. But unlike our gummy bears, which are sem-permeable, our cells are selectively permeable; meaning that this process only allows specific material to enter and exit the cell membrane.

Variables to test

  • Try differing amounts of salt or sugar in the water. Can you predict the change in size as the salt or sugar concentration in the water increases?
  • What happens if you try hot, warm and cold water?
  • Does the colour of the gummy bear matter?

More on variable testing here

Learn more!

Comments

8 thoughts on “Gummy bear osmosis

  1. Like the one on Osmosis and sinking the boat. Simple and easy for Content Language Integrated Learning in elementary school of Taiwan.

  2. Hi, I did this with a Yr 5 class. I am a casual teacher and there was no work left so as part of the day we did this. It does require a bit of time to set up and sit. We started in the middle session and looked at the results at the end of the day. We did instructional writing (Literacy), we measure the gummi bears before and after in cms (Measurement), we looked compared sizes before and after and engaged in scientific thinking on what else we could test this way. We had a wonderful time making predictions and then the students put the gummi bears back into the solutions to see what would happen overnight. In between other activities, this experiment kept the student focus throughout the day. Thank you Fizzics!

    1. That’s fantastic to hear Katherine! We love that science can be used for multiple student outcomes and this is certainly a great experiment to watch over time. Love it 🙂

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