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Diffusion Lab: Visualizing Molecular Movement Using a Model

In this activity, students build a model to show molecular movement in solids, liquids, and gases and can use these models to show change of state such as melting, freezing, and evaporation. Using simple materials such as plastic pellets and plastic cups, students can design a series of models. By gaining an understanding of molecular motion, students will better understand diffusion and osmosis as well as how substances get into and out of cells. 

Concepts Addressed
• Molecules are always in motion, even in the solid state.
• Solids, liquids, and gases have distinct molecular organization.
• When materials change from one state to another, their molecules move in a characteristic way.

Materials Needed
Plastic cups (or pie pans, or Petri dishes), plastic pellets or BBs

Time Required
This lab takes about 30 mins, but with extensions can take longer.

Student Sheets
• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

Diffusion Lab: Visualizing Molecular Movement Using a Model


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

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