Gummy bear osmosis : Fizzics Education

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# Gummy bear osmosis

### You will need:

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

6

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### 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

## 14 thoughts on “Gummy bear osmosis”

1. Joseph says:

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

1. Ben Newsome says:

We’re glad that you enjoyed these experiments Joseph! There are over 150 free experiments on this site, all designed for elementary students using simple materials. Lots to do for curious minds!

2. Katherine Mahns says:

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. Ben Newsome says:

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 ðŸ™‚

1. Ally says:

Thats cool

1. Ben Newsome says:

Glad you liked this science activity!

3. Sharon Miros-Schafle says:

Good experiments to start basic chemistry ideas for my grandson.

1. Ben Newsome says:

That’s great to hear Sharon! We’re glad that you have found these free experiments useful for your family ðŸ™‚

4. Abbey says:

What would happen if sugar was used instead of salt?
Why would it Expand or Decrease size?

1. Ben Newsome says:

Try it out! This experiment is about water moving from higher concentration of water to lower concentration of water. Adding salt or sugar to the water still should change the water’s movement. Let us know the results!

5. Samantha says:

Would this be good for a science fair

1. Ben Newsome says:

Sure would! Let us know how you go ðŸ™‚

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