This popular lab explores osmosis by letting students visualize molecules moving inside a cell and across the cell's membrane. Their ultimate challenge is to use what they learn about osmosis to compose an intravenous fluid that will not cause red blood cells to expand or shrink. In the course of the lab, students explore osmosis with no, one, two, and many solutes. In the process of exploring the underlying molecular mechanisms of osmosis and osmotic pressure, students manipulate concentrations and conduct experiments to investigate what is meant by "dynamic equilibrium" and throughout the lab use quantitative reasoning to predict experimental outcomes. See our Publications page to read how this lab has successfully conquered misconceptions! [One caveat: students who have trouble with ratios may need assistance.]Key Concepts: Equilibrium; Osmosis; Overcoming Common Misconceptions
Courses: Intro Bio: Molecular; Intro Bio: Non-majors; Osmosis-Diffusion
"The students loved the [OsmoBeaker] simulations and I thought they got more out of them than even they did."
Heather Dietz, University of Regina
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