Rebecca Foster-Faith’s Living Environment middle school students recently had an “eggs-ellent” opportunity to complete an at-home science experiment which again demonstrated the ingenuity of Minisink Valley teachers to adapt curriculum to a remote instructional environment.
“There are numerous challenges with teaching science in a pandemic,” said Mrs. Foster-Faith. “I have done this lab for many years in my classroom, and adapted it for the home environment. The lab uses ordinary food-safe ingredients and I realized this was a way for students to get some hands-on experience with an important scientific content in the home.”
During her students’ remote “eggmosis” lab, students looked at osmosis and its paired concept of diffusion (movement of other substances across cell membranes – such as food or wastes). Both are key components of the Living Environment curriculum.
Osmosis is the movement of water through cell membranes. In the lab, osmosis can be modeled by using “naked” eggs – ordinary chicken eggs that had their shells removed by soaking in vinegar. However, the eggs’ inner membrane remains intact.
An egg’s membrane behaves the same way a cell membrane does in the presence of water. Water is the main component of the human body and critical for cell volume and function.
After removing the shell, students soaked the eggs in pure tap water and pancake syrup. The eggs soaked in the pure water grew larger as the water moved into the “cell.” Those eggs in the pancake syrup shrank as water moved out of the cell. Both eggs show osmosis. The movement of materials across a selectively permeable membrane is how important nutrients get into cells and metabolic wastes are removed.
“Several parents went out of their way to tell me how much they enjoyed doing this lab as a family,” Mrs. Foster-Faith added. “The extended learning across all family members was an unexpected benefit.”