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Gummy Growth

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    The Exploratorium

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Gummy Growth

In this activity related to Archimedes' Principle, learners use water displacement to compare the volume of an expanded gummy bear with a gummy bear in its original condition. This activity shows an important scaling phenomenon: when you increase the size of an object, volume grows much faster than height or surface area. This resource contains information about how this phenomenon affects animals both large and small.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 9-10 gummy bears
  • small containers
  • graduated cylinder, measuring cup, or similar container
  • water
  • ruler
  • paper
  • pencil


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
    • Number and Operations
      • Multiples and Factors
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Muller, Eric


  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©1998


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