Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gummy Bears Experiment

Many of you know that Kelsey has been expressing a great desire to be a scientist when she grows up.  She's also asked to do a lot of science experiments this year.  A few weeks ago I was at Target checking out the $1 bins they have in the front of the store, and found this fabulous little book with 18 at-home science experiments in it.  I decided it would be our bonus science experiments throughout the year.  Yesterday we started our first one: Growing Gummy Bears.  My neighbor and her daughter, "E", came over to do the experiment with us, so the first set of pictures are from Terri's camera since I didn't have the foresight to grab my own.

The original experiment called for just gummy bears, but Terri had the idea to bring some fruit snacks as well for comparison.  Great idea, Terri!

First, we discussed what we were going to do, then asked each kid to come up with a hypothesis, or what they thought would happen.  Then each child measured her gummy bear and fruit snack and recorded the measurement.  Because Olivia hypothesized that the gummy bear would absorb the water, she also had to measure her water to see if the level went down at the end of the experiment.  Then the kids placed the gummy bears and fruit snacks in separate cups of water.

And although Connor didn't "officially" do the experiment, he had to have a cup with gummy bears in it, too!

After this was completed, we were to let the gummy bears (and fruit snacks) sit overnight.  After a few hours, we already had some differences!

 We tried to make sure that everyone had a gummy bear and fruit snack that were the same color.  "E" had red, Olivia had green, and Kelsey had yellow/orange.  After just a few hours, see how the fruit snacks are already starting to turn white?  Also, the water with the fruit snacks was becoming tinted the same color as the fruit snack.

This morning Terri and "E" came back over to do the follow up observations.


It was a little messier than I thought it would be.  The gummy bears had absorbed so much water that they were starting to fall apart, and the fruit snacks were crumbling in the water (dissolving).  We found that the gummy bears had doubled in size, and the fruit snacks had grown about 25-30% larger.  Olivia's water volume had decreased also.  Very cool!

The book I got had an "explanation" section that told why each experiment had the results that it did.  This experiment was all about osmosis - how water moves from a wet environment to a dry one to try to equalize the amount of water in each environment.  I also got the idea to demonstrate this in a quicker way by putting some water with red food coloring on a plate, then barely touching a dry paper towel to the water.  The water travels very quickly through the paper towel, because of osmosis.

Now I'll be thinking of osmosis every time I wipe something up with a paper towel.  Hopefully, however, so will they.

1 comment:

Olive said...

Interesting! It looked like the fruit snacks turned white, but the gummy bears didn't lose their color. . . I, too, performed an experiment in the office. I had filled 2 small (8-oz) bottles of hand sanitizer, and they had lots of little bubbles throughout. So for several days I shook one of them a few times a day to see if the bubbles would disappear . . .