Gummy Bear Science Experiment

This week are learning about local animals, one of which many of us are familiar with in Coquitlam is the bear! So here is a fun “bear-inspired” science activity.

Gummy Bear Science Experiment!

Materials

  1. Gummy bears
  2. Small bowls
  3. Water
  4. Salt

Instructions

  1. First boil some water to make it easier to dissolve salt into it.
  2. Mix in salt until the water cannot dissolve the salt anymore so that the solution is supersaturated.
  3. Let the water cool in the fridge or on the counter. Don’t use the water too hot otherwise it might melt the gummy bears before you can actually observe your experiment. If you want you can incorporate this into the experiment and test the water warmth by seeing if gummy bears melt.
  4. Once the salt water has cooled you can fill the bowls with it.
  5. Pour salt water into one bowl and plain water into another for comparison.
  6. Place some gummy bears in the salt water and some in the plain water. Keep a couple of gummy bears (similar in size to the ones you put in the water and salt water) nearby.
  7. This is for comparison.
  8. Let the gummy bears soak for a couple hours and come back to them. Have children make predictions about what they think will happen to the gummy bears in the two water bowls.
  9. When you return to the experiment the gummy bear in the salt water should have expanded some and in the plain water it should have expanded even more (in image below left to right: yellow – control, red – salt water, green – plain water).
  10. Explanation of why this happens taken directly from source site: “To make gummy bears, sugar, gelatin, and flavor are dissolved in a warm water solution.  As the solution cools, water leaves the gelatin solution, and the bears become firm but chewy.  Not all the water leaves the gelatin however, otherwise the gummy bears would be rock hard.It’s this little bit of water that makes the gummy bears act as a solution of water, one with a lot of sugar dissolved in it.  The plain water in the bowl, however, had very little dissolve in it. The plain water, with very little dissolved in it will move toward the solution of water with a lot dissolved in it, the gummy bear.  This movement of a solvent from one of lower concentration to higher concentration is called osmosis.  The force behind that movement of water is called osmotic pressure.In the bowl with the salt water, we tried to balance the amount of stuff {salt} dissolved in the water with the amount of sugar dissolved in the gummy bear. Since our gummy bear placed in the salt water solution did expand a little bit, we knew our salt water solution did have a lot dissolved in it but not quite as much as the gummy bear did.  So a little water moved into the gummy bear to balance the two solutions.”

Source: http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/growing-gummy-bear-science/