Science Challenge: Gummy Fun

Science Challenge: Gummy Fun

Did you get some gummy bears or gummy worms in your trick or treat bag this Halloween?  Put them to use in this experiment, while you explore the concept of osmosis.

Materials:

  • gummy bears or gummy worms
  • water
  • bowl
  • scale (optional)

Procedure:

  1. If you have a scale, weigh the candy and record the weight.
  2. Put the gummy candy in the bowl of water and check on the candy every few hours.  What do you think will happen to the candy?
  3. Did your gummy grow?  Some brands will grow, but others may not, depending on the recipe.  Observe your growing gummy over a few days to see how big it gets.  If you have a scale, you can weigh it again to see how much water the gummy took in.
  4. If you want to expand on the experiment, try putting the gummy candy in different liquids, like vinegar, sugar water, and salt water.  If you have a scale, you can weigh all the different candy to see the difference.

Science Behind the Experiment:

Gummy bears and worms are made up of water, sugar, and gelatin.  When the gummy is placed in water, osmosis occurs.  Osmosis happens when a liquid moves itself from one side of a membrane (the side with high concentration) to another (the side with low concentration).  In this case, the water moves from outside the gummy (where the water has less dissolved in it and is therefore more highly concentrated) to inside the gummy (where the water has sugar, food coloring, etc. dissoved in it and is therefore less concentrated).  The water moves from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration in an effort to equalize the concentration.  The gelatin keeps the gummy candy from dissolving in the water.

Resources:
Parenting.com
Tinker Lab