Check out our FUN Gummy Bear Osmosis experiment!
This is a simple and fun experiment for children 12 and under (and their moms).
A quick safety note:
Don’t let your kids eat the gummy bears after they’ve soaked in the various solutions. The ones in baking soda and vinegar will taste awful, and they will all contain bacteria as your kids will be handling them and then putting them back in the fluids.
AND, if you have a cat like we do, the cat might lick from the containers and/or drop a hair or two among the various solutions.
BTW – because of our cat, I did talk about the importance of strict scientific procedures and how data can be contaminated. My kids know that our experiment was more of a fun experiment – and that some contamination undoubtedly occurred.
Just a thought – you might want to buy TWO bags of gummy bears – one for the experiment and one for nibbling.
Some educational info before you start (so you can explain the science to your kids):
Most sugary candy dissolves in water. In fact, you might want to try this experiment first, so your kids understand that this is true.
Gummy bears are an exception – they don’t dissolve in water. This is because they’re made with gelatin. When gummy bears are made, gelatin and water are heated and mixed (like when you make gelatin at home). As the mixture cools, water leaves the candy and the candy hardens and becomes gummy/chewy.
When you put a gummy bear in water, it is a solute, and the water molecules are a solvent. Since the gummy bear does not contain water (remember, the water was removed when the gummy bear was made), water now moves into the bear by the process of osmosis. Osmosis is the process whereby water moves from a greater concentration of water to a lower concentration of water (from a container of water to the candy bear).
Also, gummy bears have a semi-permeable membrane – their surface has holes in it and these holes allow small, non-charged particles like water in, but don’t let larger particles (like sugar) out.
At the beginning of the experiment, there is less water and more gelatin inside each gummy bear. As time passes, this changes, as the gelatin makes the gummy bear act like a sponge, absorbing water rather than being dissolved in it (like other candies).
Try the Gummy Bear Osmosis experiment and see what happens!
This Gummy Bear Osmosis experiment takes less than an hour to set up, but the actual experiment runs for 48 hours.
Materials You Need for the Gummy Bear Osmosis Experiment
- Gummy Bears
- A glass container for each liquid/solution
- One tablespoon of salt
- A tablespoon of sugar
- One tablespoon of baking soda
- Kitchen scale
- Paper towels
- Clock or timer
- Gummy Bear Experiment Sheet (included at the end of this post, although the spacing is slightly different)
- Gummy Bear Scientific Data Table (included at the bottom of this post)
Instructions for the Gummy Bear Osmosis Experiment
- Label each glass with its contents: water, salt water, sugar water, etc.
- Fill the glass labeled water with one-half cup plain water.
- Fill the glass labeled salt water with one-half cup water. Thoroughly mix in one tablespoon of salt (make sure all the salt is dissolved).
- Fill the glass labeled sugar water with one-half cup water. Thoroughly mix in one tablespoon of sugar (again, make sure all the sugar is dissolved).
- Fill the glass labeled baking soda water with one-half cup water and thoroughly mix in one tablespoon of baking soda.
- Fill the other containers with their respective liquids.
- Select a gummy bear for each glass.
- Measure the length, height and width of each gummy bear, weigh each gummy bear and write this info on the Gummy Bear Scientific Data Table. If your scale isn’t able to weigh just one gummy bear you can still do this experiment. Visually, your kids will be able to see the difference in the bears pre- and post-experiment.
- Check – and write down the time.
- Now, add a gummy bear to each glass.
- Wait 12 hours.
- Remove the gummy bears from their respective glasses.
- Let your kids ooh and ahh and talk about the differences in the bears.
- Now, measure and if you can,weigh each bear. Use the Gummy Bear Scientific Data Table to write down your results.
- Put the gummy bears back in their solutions.
- Check back after 24 hours and again measure and weigh each gummy bear. Again, give your kids plenty of time to talk about the results.
- Again, put the gummy bears back in their glasses.
- Check back after 48 hours, measure and weigh each gummy bear. Use the Gummy Bear Scientific Data Table to write down your results.
What did you discover? Did your gummy bears GROW – by A LOT!?! Which gummy bears grew the most, without losing shape?
Explain scientifically what happened.
Check out our experiment below.
This is the beginning of it.
(our cat lost interest quickly)
Gummy Bear Osmosis Experiment – After 12 hours
Gummy Bear Osmosis Experiment – After 24 hours
Our water gummy bear has lost part of its leg! And I can clearly see gummy particles in some of the water solutions.
But our vinegar gummy bear isn’t a blob yet, and I’ve heard that’s what happens. I’m getting a little worried – did we do something wrong?
Gummy Bear Osmosis Experiment – After 48 hours
A lot of the gummy bears are falling apart after 48 hours! I originally planned to check again after 72 hours – but they just won’t make it! The vinegar gummy is a blob (yeah!), and the water and soda gummy bears are literally falling apart. This gummy bear osmosis experiment was so much fun for the kids!
I’ve included the forms I used below – in case you’d like to use them ____________________________________________________________________________
GUMMY BEAR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
GUMMY BEAR OSMOSIS
BAKING SODA WATER
GUMMY BEAR SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
GUMMY BEAR OSMOSIS
Scientific Data Table