facebook Plant & Animal Cell Activity - Cell Diffusion Model DIY
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Plant & Animal Cells Activity for Kids

Cell Diffusion Model DIY

  • Duration: 30-45 min
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: $0 to $15

Make color-changing gelatin blocks to model diffusion!

Material List

  • 1/4Red Cabbage
  • 4Cups of water
  • 4Packets of gelatin
  • 1Teaspoon of ammonia
  • 1Cup of vinegar
  • 1Blender
  • 1Strainer
  • 1Pot
  • 1Plastic knife
  • 1Ruler
  • 2Tupperware containers


  • 1Blend ¼ of a red cabbage in 4 cups of water for 1 min.
  • 2Strain the mixture into a pot and heat until almost boiling.
  • Warning:Use caution and an adult’s help when heating.
  • 3Stir 4 packets of gelatin (~28 grams) into the heated mixture.
  • 4Transfer the mixture into a plastic container and stir in 1 teaspoon of ammonia.
  • Warning:Ammonia has a strong odor. Once mixed in, the odor goes away.
  • 5Place the mixture in the fridge overnight.
  • 6Cut out 3 gelatin cubes: 2cm, 1cm, and 0.5 cm cubed
  • 7Add the cubes into a bowl of vinegar and observe.

How It Works

The vinegar molecules move into the gelatin cubes through a process called "diffusion." This causes the color to change due to the red cabbage juice. Diffusion is when molecules randomly vibrate from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. Diffusion in and out of the gelatin cubes happens more quickly in the smaller ones. This is why it is an advantage for cells to be tiny: molecules can diffuse in or out much faster.

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