Wednesday 28 August 2013

Science: Jelly Snake Osmosis!

Yes, this science experiment involves SWEETS!  This was another huge hit in our house, they all wanted a go at doing the experiment.  Who wouldn't?
So how do we do it and how and why does it work?  Well...
First you will need:
  • two clear (they don't have to be clear but it adds to the fun being able to easily observe it) and clean containers (as the snakes are edible when you have finished your project)
  • jelly snake sweets
  • glucose syrup or golden syrup
We've been learning Osmosis a lot recently and trying out different experiments but this one was a huge hit. Here's how we did it:
Put a jelly snake into each of the containers.
Cover one of the snakes in one container with water.
Cover the other snake that is in the other container until it is covered in your glucose (or golden) syrup.

Leave for 6 hours - check every 2 hours to observe what happens - it is probably best if you do it at the beginning of the day to manage this. 
Check your jelly snakes after your 6 hours, what has happened?
The one in the sugar syrup shrank and the one in the water got bigger!  That is all because of Osmosis!
To put it as simply as possible Osmosis is when a solution passes through a semi-permeable membrane (semi-permeable means that it allows passage of certain, especially small, molecules or ions but acts as a barrier to others)  from a solution with a low solute concentration to a solution with a higher solute concentration until there is an equal concentration of fluid on both sides of the membrane.
So what we are seeing is the glucose syrup with a higher solute concentration that the jelly sweet hence the sweet shrinks!  The opposite is happening in the water container, this is because the sweet has a higher solute concentrate to the water and the water is therefore drawn into the sweet.
Other things you can do:
You can do the same experiment with potatoes, apples, carrots, gummy bears and many other things too. 

Instead of using sugar syrup you could try salt water instead.

If you liked this post you might like these posts too...

Osmosis in plants

How do plants drink water


  1. What a great little and yummy experiment :)

    1. Thanks Peso - we're on to our next osmosis experiment and they were all eager to get our their science journals again today! :)

  2. This is great! I love your blog, it's VERY inspiring for me: we're only just starting our home school!

    1. How exciting for you! I'm pleased you find my blog inspiring. How exciting for you all what adventures you will have! :)