Bend a Carrot

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In this activity, learners investigate the process of osmosis by adding salt to a sealed bag of raw carrots and comparing it to a control. After about 15-30 minutes, the carrots with salt become flexible and water can be seen in the bag. Extensions include measuring the amount of water lost from the carrots, varying the salt solutions, and investigating other liquids, vegetables or solids. Part of the "No Hassle Messy Science with a Wow" activity guide by OMSI, where all activities use only household materials.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • 4 baby carrots (or cut larger carrots to size)
  • 2 sealing plastic bags (e.g., Ziploc)
  • 1 permanent marker (e.g., Sharpie)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 plastic cup, 8 oz.
  • 1 plastic spoon


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry


  • All rights reserved, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation