Gummy bears are always fun to eat, but they can be even more fun to experiment with! Gummy bears are the star of this science experiment that helps to demonstrate the concept of osmosis. This experiment needs to sit overnight to work, so why not enjoy some of the leftover bears while you wait? Or check out these titles from Hoopla to hold you over Ada Twist, Scientist and Silly Food Science.
Note: While you may be tempted to eat any extra gummy bears, you should save a few as a control. Then you can see how much your bears have grown in the experiment! Do not eat the gummy bears that have been a part of the experiment when you are done.
Gummy bears are made of gelatin, so they do not dissolve in liquid, like many other sugary candies. In this experiment, the gelatin in the gummy bear acts like a cell membrane in living cells. The gummy bears get bigger or smaller after soaking in the liquids because of a process called osmosis. Osmosis lets water pass in or out of a cell’s membrane in an attempt to equalize the molecules inside and out. Water goes into the gummy bear in sugar water and out of the gummy bear in salt water to try and put things in balance, causing your gummy bears to swell or shrink!
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