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  • Wendy De la Garza

Cucumber “osmosis”


Science is always fun at our house. It’s just a rule. So, when I saw this cucumber and salt water lesson for oceans, we did an eyelid cucumber hydration session first! This is an activity my girls and I have been addicted to lately. So, why not take the opportunity? They already have previous knowledge, and the engagement helps to visualize “osmosis”. It’s a hard word, and they will have more success in recall as well when it is introduced in a formal classroom.


My oldest daughter remembered from previous science knowledge to cut the cucumber slices at about the same size, used the same amount of water and took notes! We adapted the data sheet to answer our own questions.

This is where I found it: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/4H347

Osmosis is the movement of water across cell membranes from areas of high water concentration to lower water concentration to create a balance. We learned that the cucumbers put into salt water become bendy. They lose their water from inside their cells and are no longer crisp. When we tried to rehydrate them, they still didn't get back to their original firmness.

We thought that if this happened to a freshwater fish, they probably would not survive the ocean. They would shrivel and lose water. We also thought about mangrove trees outside having the ability to block or expel salt from the Bay water. How important mangrove trees are! We would never try to put a freshwater fish into the Bay because organisms have adapted to their particular habitats!

We stopped there, but there are varying degrees of saltiness in brackish water. Perhaps there are some overlapping organisms to study!

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