Gummy Bear Lab

Gummy Bear Lab
What will happen to a gummy bear when you put it in water over
Hypothesis: (write your educated guess here)
gummy bears (large and small), graduated cylinders, balance, ruler,
balance, water, cup
1. Record your name and the size (large or small) and color of your
gummy bear in the first row of your table. Also record the data
for all the other members of your group.
2. Measure the length, width, and height of your bear in millimeters
3. Calculate the bear's volume. It's approximately a rectangular
prism. Volume = Length x Height x Width
4. Measure the mass with a balance in grams (g).
5. Calculate the density of the bear. Density = Mass / Volume
6. Put the bear in a cup of water. Label it with your name and
group number.
7. Repeat the measurements carefully on the second day and
record the data in the Table 2.
Table 1 - Day 1 - Before Soaking in
Color Length Height
(mm) (mm)
Mass (g)
Table 2 - Day 2 - After Soaking in
Color Length Height
(mm) (mm)
Mass (g)
What happened to the gummy bear?
How many times longer was the height of the bear? (new
height/original height)
How many times larger was the volume of the bear? (new
volume/original volume)
Which change is greater, height or volume? Why?
Was there a change in density? Why?
Write an explanation for what happened to the gummy bear.
What do you think gummy bears and other gummy candies are made
of? Why?
Gummy Bears Lab
By Caleb Cheung
Objectives & Summary
Students will predict what will happen to a gummy bear after it has been
soaking in water overnight.
Students will measure length, volume and mass, and relate the changes
in linear dimension to changes in volume. After soaking a gummy bear in
water overnight, it will expand eight times in volume.
Teacher Notes/Things To Do
1. There are two pages to this lab. Page one is handed out and done
on the first day. Page two is for the second day.
2. Have students work in groups with each student having their own
gummy bear. Make sure members of the group get different color
and size bears.
3. Talk about not eating the equipment.
4. Before handing out worksheets, present the problem and discuss
things that need to be recorded to notice any changes in the bear.
5. Discuss the definitions of length, height, and width, and different
ways to measure volume.
6. Explain the concept of density and why it is an important
7. Remind students to measure the gummy bears carefully because
they are small.
8. Graduated cylinders can also be used to measure volume via
displacement (Archimedes’ Principle).
9. Gummy Bears are extremely fragile after soaking in water. Make
sure students retrieve all pieces to measure everything accurately.
10. Gummy bears expand in water because they are made of gelatin
(same stuff as Jello™). They expand and basically become pieces of
11. Compare the changes in density, small vs. large bears, or have
students come up with their own questions to ask. Many different
relationships can be looked at.
12. Discuss how/why doubling the linear dimensions increases the
volume by eight times.
Making bar graphs to compare data.
Compare how much more candy is available for consumption after it
has been soaking in water.
Discuss size and scale in animals.
Example: Why do elephants sleep standing up? (tissue will get
damaged because of their weight) Why are there no birds the size
of ants or beetles the size of cows? (anatomy would not function,
different respiratory & circulatory systems)
Fill a jar with gummy bears. Have students guess how many are in
the jar based on calculations and explanations.
Write stories about the origins of gummy bears or how they were
Invent a new type of gummy candy that does not exist. Write or
draw a proposal and present it to the class for possible production.
(ex. nonfat gummy worms, hot gummy bears, gummy bears with
crickets in them)
Make gummy candies from scratch in the class with Make Your Own
Gummies Kit. (I'm currently experimenting with my own home
made version. Let me know if any one else has succeeded.)
For those that are more adventurous, explode your bears with a
Gummy Bear Oxidation Experiment.
Other Notes
In May 1997, a top tobacco executive said in a sworn statement
"Smoking is as addictive as gummy bears." Believe it or not.
Ingredients of gummy candies:
Fructose, corn syrup, sugar, sorbitol, gelatin*, citric acid, lactic acid,
fumaric acid, malic acid, "artificial" and/or "natural" flavors, red dye #40,
yellow dye #5, yellow dye #6, blue dye #1, beeswax, coconut oil,
carnauba wax, mineral oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, pear
concentrate, confectioner's glaze.
Gelatin* (made from cow by products, i.e. bones and hoofs) is the main
ingredient here. Combined with various sweeteners, dyes, and oils, it
becomes gummy candy.
A Question of Size, Exploratorium 1996 guide on their "Exploration of Size
and Scale" exhibit.
If the term "Gummy Bears" is a trademark, please let me know and I will
acknowledge it here in the future.