Download Implementation Guide Osmosis Investigation Lab

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Observing Osmosis! Lab Activity
Teacher Implementation Guide:
Thank you for purchasing this product! I use this lab activity to supplement my unit
on the Cell Membrane and Cell Transport and to reinforce my teaching of osmosis.
It’s an excellent way for students to observe the impact of different concentrations
of solutes on various food samples. Students should have prior knowledge of diffusion
and osmosis before completing this activity. If possible, please consider writing a
review of this product on my TPT page, in exchange for TPT credit. Your feedback is
important to me! Happy teaching!
-Kimberly B.
It’s Not Magic It’s Science
What’s Included?
 Osmosis Investigation Lab Student Handout (6 pages- PDF)
 Answer Key for Osmosis Lab (6 pages- PDF)
Required Materials: (to be purchased)
(enough for three classes of approximately 20-25 students)
One Dozen Eggs (3 eggs per class)
1 Gallon White Vinegar
4-6 potatoes (any kind)
Gummy Bears (60-75 total)
Plastic Cups
Karo Syrup (or any corn syrup, I have tried maple syrup and it did not work as
well)- 250 mL per class
 1 Gallon Distilled Water (optional: I have done this lab both with distilled
water and tap water, and have honestly seen very little (if any) difference in
Required Laboratory Equipment/Additional Supplies:
100 mL Graduated Cylinders (one per student group)
Electronic Balance Scale (one per student group if available)
Markers (one per group)
Paper Towels
400-600 mL Beakers (3 total per class- to be used for egg demonstration)
Pre-Lab Set-Up:
1. Soak a dozen eggs in white vinegar. I either place as many as I can fit in a
large mixing bowl, or 3-4 eggs in 1000 mL beakers. As the shell is dissolving,
carbon dioxide gas is released, so do not seal the bowls/beakers as pressure
will build up! The shell can almost dissolve completely in 24 hours, but I prefer
giving them 48 hours to ensure the reaction fully completes (the eggs will
dissolve at different rates depending on their placement in the bowl). You
can also GENTLY rub any remaining shell pieces that have not yet dissolved in
order to remove them completely. NOTE: Eggs are very fragile! I always soak
more eggs than I need because I always end up popping a few! This is the
very reason the eggs are part of a teacher demonstration and not given to
students to use.
2. Prepare baskets/containers of materials for each student group. In each
basket place the following:
a. 4 plastic cups, one marker, 2 gummy bears (of the same color to
ensure validity), 2 potato slices, paper towels, 100 mL graduated
3. Pre-slice the potatoes right before class begins (if sliced too far ahead of time
they will begin to turn brown). You do not need to peel them. Cut them into
approximately 5 mm wide slices, then cut them in half to create two halfmoon shaped pieces (they fit better in the plastic cups this way).
4. Prepare saltwater solutions. Each group needs 180 mL of salt water. In a
class of 24 students, split into 8 groups of 3, that would be 1440 mL. Rounding
up for ease, I would prepare 3 separate 600 mL beakers each with about 500
mL of solution. To create a 10% salt solution, add 10 grams of salt to 100 mL of
Demonstration Instructions: (15-20 minutes Day 1, 10-15 minutes Day 2)
1. This demo works best with ~500 mL beakers. Any smaller and the eggs won’t
fit! To ensure validity I fill each beaker with the same volume of liquid (250300 mL is perfect). You can fill the beakers prior to student arrival or fill them
as the demo progresses (my preference).
a. Fill Beaker A with 250 mL of vinegar
b. Fill Beaker B with 250 mL of distilled water
c. Fill Beaker C with 250 mL of Karo Syrup
2. Before weighing the eggs, I will usually
walk around the room to show students
what the eggs look like up close. Most of
them are extremely surprised an egg can
be deshelled!
Modeling the entire procedure
with the eggs throughout the
demonstration makes it much
easier for students to then do the
same thing with their potato and
gummy bear samples!
3. For each egg I ask a student volunteer to
come up to the front and weigh its initial
mass. We all record it together in our
data table. We all also record the initial volume of each liquid.
4. When it comes time for students to make their hypotheses, I tell students to
think about which solutions possibly represent solutions which are hypertonic,
hypotonic, or isotonic to the eggs.
5. On day two, again ask student volunteers to come up to the front to weigh
the eggs. The egg placed in Karo Syrup will be especially funny looking
(extremely deflated), so I always walk around the room with that beaker for
students to see it better!
6. Calculate the new volume of liquid in each beaker by estimating the volume
on each beaker (not the most accurate method but pouring Karo Syrup into
graduated cylinders can be extremely sticky and messy).
a. Optional: Obtain a 500 mL graduated cylinder and pour the contents
of each beaker into the cylinder to obtain a more accurate measure
of the final volume.
7. Model to students how to calculate percent change of the mass of each
egg. Make sure to point out that a negative number is okay, it just means it
got smaller!
Unexpected Result!
The egg placed in the vinegar is intended to represent an isotonic environment.
However, I usually always see a slight gain in mass in this egg.
Student Laboratory Instructions: Day 1
(15-30 minutes depending on class size and academic level of students)
1. Each student group should receive a basket of prepared materials and one
electronic balance.
2. Students should label their cups with their group initials and water type
(saltwater or distilled water) and record all initial weights of each food
3. Place large beakers of distilled water and saltwater in 2-4 different locations
around the room for student groups to use to measure 90 mL of each water
sample for each cup.
a. NOTE: I recommend the students using only 90 mL of water in their
plastic cups because it can be easily measured in a 100 mL graduated
cylinder. In addition, each cup will either gain water or lose water due
to osmosis. The gain of water never exceeds 10 mL, so the final volume
of each cup can be measured in a 100 mL graduated cylinder as well.
In my classroom I tend to always have a lot of 100 mL graduated
cylinders in my supply closet, so this volume works well. However, feel
free to alter the measurements to best suit your own equipment.
Student Laboratory Instructions: Day 2
(30 minutes, including time to answer conclusion questions)
1. Stress to students to CAREFULLY remove their gummy bear from the distilled
water. It will be very fragile and can easily break into several pieces, making
it difficult to get accurate mass and volume measurements.
2. Make sure they place a paper towel on their balance scale before recording
final weights, as food samples will be wet. Don’t forget to remind them to
zero out their scales after the paper towel is placed!
3. Once each food sample is out of the cup, students will pour the remaining
liquid in their cups back into their 100 mL graduated cylinders to record the
final volume.
4. All solutions can be poured down the drain and food samples and cups
should be thrown in the garbage.
Unexpected Result!
Students usually expect the gummy bear placed in salt water to lose mass, but in
actuality, it gains mass! Although unexpected, it can lead into an interesting
discussion as to why this result was obtained. There is more dissolved sugar in the
gummy bear than there is dissolved salt in the water, making the salt water
hypotonic to the gummy bear. It can also be used to point out just how much
sugar is in the candy that we eat!
Conclusion Questions:
I like to go over questions 5 and 6 with the students together as a class, as they are
a bit more difficult and require more critical thinking. I will often model the response
I am looking for in question 5, and have students complete question 6 on their own.
Suggested Group Sizes:
I think this works best as an activity completed in groups of three. However, pairs of
students work as well!. It all depends on how large your class size is and the amount
of material you are able to purchase.
Feel free to send me an email at
[email protected]
and I would be happy to help!