Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gorged Gummy Bears - One Last Polymer Lab

I think we're finally coming to an end of our investigation into polymers. Before we concluded our study, there was just one more experiment we had to do - The Gummy Bear Lab!

I ran into this on, and just couldn't resist. Gummy bears contain gelatin. Gelatin is a polymer. It also absorbs water much the same as the powder from the diapers we used to make our fake snow.

This lab gave us a chance to measure the change in density that occurred to a gummy bear when it was left to sit in water for 24 hours. The math was a little steep for the age of the children, but we fumbled through as well as we could, with a bowl of gummy bears sitting in the middle of the table. We measured the height, width and thickness of the bears in centimeters, and then weighed them in grams. The weight divided by the volume (height x width x thickness), gave us the density.

We repeated our measurements after the bears had expanded. We recorded the change in density between the two days (the bears became less dense). Then, of course, we tasted the bears - YUCK!!! Gorged gummy bears might look like jello jigglers, but they taste more like glue. Some polymers should not be tampered with.

It's great to be a homeschooler!

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