Osmosis Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach students about osmosis. A video lesson outlines key concepts, then students get busy with an experiment and simulation and finish up with a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'osmosis'
  • give examples of osmosis
  • compare and contrast osmosis in hypotonic and hypertonic solutions


  • Prep time for the experiment about 3 hours before the lesson
  • 1.5 hours for lesson and in-class experiment
  • Additional two class periods for the activity


  • Copies of the lesson video Osmosis: Definition & Examples, one for each student
  • Small, shallow bowls or Styrofoam plates
  • Potatoes, one for each lab group
  • Tablespoon
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Knives
  • Glasses
  • Ice
  • Warm water
  • Plastic wrap
  • Gummy bears in differing colors
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Small cups
  • Scales
  • Measure tapes
  • Craft sticks

Key Vocabulary

  • Osmosis
  • Diffusion
  • Semi-permeable membrane
  • Solutes
  • Hypotonic solution
  • Hypertonic solution

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.3

Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.4

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • At least two hours before class, divide students into lab groups and give them each two plates or bowls, a potato, knife, tablespoon, salt, and water.
  • Instruct students to pour enough water into each plate to fill it about a quarter-inch.
  • Now have students measure three tablespoons of salt into one of the dishes and mix thoroughly. Label one 'Salt Mixture' and the other 'Non-salt Mixture.'
  • Tell students to cut their potato in half lengthwise and place one in each dish, face-down.
  • Have students title their notebooks 'Osmosis' and make a sketch of their potato bowls.
  • Ask students to predict what will happen to the potatoes and record.

Direct Instruction

  • Start the lesson video Osmosis: Definition & Examples and pause at 1:49.
  • Define key vocabulary with students and give each lab group two glasses and plastic wrap.
  • Fill one glass with ice water and the other with warm water. Have students cover the glasses with plastic wrap, then have students predict results. How will they see osmosis?
  • Resume the lesson and pause again at 4:49.
  • Have students check on their potato and record results, then explain the process of osmosis. What happened to the salt water? How is this osmosis?
  • Check in on the water glasses as well. How is this osmosis? Which solutions were hypotonic? Why? Which were hypertonic? Why?
  • After recording experiment results and conclusion, play the remainder of the lesson and take the quiz.

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