Osmosis teaching resources

Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about osmosis (GCSE and Key Stage 3)

Osmosis has some great practicals associated with it. Two of my favourites are the naked egg experiment and the gummy bears. For the naked egg experiment, place some uncooked eggs in vinegar overnight –  this will remove the shell. Then place one egg in water and the other egg in a concentrated salt solution (8%) for 24 hours. Remove the eggs and observe what has happened. With the gummy bears (remember the theme tune!) just place them into different salt solutions and get students to observe what happens after 24hours. You can get them to take measurements before and after e.g. mass and length.

Understanding osmosis – using MCQs

GCSE diagnostic multiple choice questions on osmosis. Students work individually on each diagnostic multiple choice question and then discuss answers in pairs. Or, each question can be used within your existing lessons to check for understanding. Answers are in the notes section of the PPT file. It’s worthing checking out the further reading below on osmosis misconceptions – I think we teach most of them! (PDF)

Hypertonic, hypotonic and isotonic solutions

GSCE worksheet on hypertonic, hypotonic and isotonic solutions. A simple context is set-up using a nurse who administers the wrong IV drip. This activity could be used to consolidate understanding around osmosis and the effects of hypotonic and hypertonic solutions on cells. (PDF)

Osmosis in context

GCSE activity looking at how osmosis affects freshwater and marine organisms. Students work in small groups to apply their understanding of osmosis to explain different adaptations in marine and freshwater organisms. This activity requires students to have a good understanding of the principles of osmosis so they can apply their knowledge to new situations. (PDF)

Further reading

Kosinski, R. J.; C. K. Morlok (2008). “Challenging misconceptions about osmosis“. Association for Biology Laboratory Education. 30: 63–87

  1. Active transport
  2. Diffusion 
  3. Osmosis