March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Digestion, Osmosis and Calories

Posted: Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

by Jeff Orlinsky

In September’s e-CCS, I introduced a lab about salinization and seed germination and one of the concepts illustrated was osmosis.  This month’s lab focuses on osmosis and soft drinks.   I use this experiment when we are talking about digestion, calories and osmosis.

Grades: 7th – 12th Grade

Subjects: Biology / Life Sciences, Chemistry, Investigation and Experimentation, Life Sciences.  This lesson would work in any science class, but it is intended for a life science class.

Topics: Osmosis, soft drinks, sports drinks, and student health.

Duration: 40 min Prep + 1 hour Activity + 1 hour Post

Setting: Classroom

Handouts: Soft drink Osmosis Lab Handout and Soft Drink article

Materials:

  • Dialysis tubing, paper towels
  • Assorted soft drinks (flat, not carbonated), and sports drinks
  • Distilled water
  • Graduated cylinders, 25 mL
  • 5% sucrose solution
  • Triple Beam balances or electronic balance

Preparation:  you can make the 5% sucrose solutions ahead of time.  Make enough solutions so each group has about 100ml of sucrose solutions. Make sure that the carbonated soft drinks have been allowed to become “flat”.

Activity: After your lessons on membranes, diffusion, and osmosis, introduce this lab by having the students read the article about soft drinks.  (You may also consider adding a lecture about digestion or the general anatomy of the digestive system.) Physiologically, our sense of thirst and hunger are partially controlled by the stomach.  Ask students if they have had the feeling of fullness after drinking sodas, but still felt thirsty.  Following this introduction, ask the students to help design an experiment to test if soft drinks make you thirsty. Demonstrate how to fill dialysis bags, and have the students calculate the percent of sugar in different soft drinks. After the experiment, have the students graph their data.  In most cases, the results are very clear. Conclude by leading a discussion about their results, and ask students to find ways to improve their experiment.

Written by Jeff Orlinsky

Jeff Orlinsky

Jeff Orlinsky teaches science at Warren High School and is CSTA’s High School Director.

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For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

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