Membrane Transport Lesson with Candy Models

David Welch
Grade Level: 
Arizona State Science Education Standards: 
Strand 1 - The inquiry process. This includes forming observations, questions, and hypotheses, testing and analyzing, as well as communicating results. Strand 4, Concept 1, PO3 - The importance of water to cells. Strand 4, Concept 1, PO4 - Analyze mechanisms of transport Strand 4, Concept 3, PO2 - Analyzing how organisms are influenced by their environ- ment by a combination of biotic and abiotic factors. Strand 4, Concept 5, PO2 - Describe role of organic and inorganic chemicals Strand 5, Concept 1 - The structure and properties of matter.
Presented is a lesson plan for creatively presenting the concepts of passive and active trans- port across cell membranes. Two days of activities are presented. The first day is centered around students working by themselves and eventually in pairs to make small models of membranes out of candy. After students make the models they are presented with a variety of situations to model by adding in other types of candy to act as various biological factors. This setup allows for visualizations of membrane structure and function, concentration gra- dients, and mechanics of transport. The second day focuses on an experiment in osmosis across membranes. Students create their own experiment based off a given setup to test a single factor they believe could effect osmosis. Students then carry out the experiment as a class and analyze results.

This lesson will give the students chances to visualize transport phenomena that would not be visible at the macro scale. Additionally this activity will allow students to work with their own materials and with a team to simulate various cellular transport phenomena. Students will also gain valuable experience with experimental procedure and good scientific methods.

Diffusion, Passive Transport, Active Transport, Osmosis, Membranes, Candy
DW_GK12_transport_lesson.pdf748.07 KB