Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Water on the Move: Osmosis (#3 of 3) - Section 4: Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?


Structure and function is such a ubiquitous theme that runs throughout biology. In this lesson, I try to connect what students learned in the Diffusion Lab (featuring the semi-permeable nature of dialysis tubing) with the flow of water per the rules of passive transport.

In the Diffusion Lab, students learned that solute size does impact its permeability in artificial membranes. For example, starch (polymer) did not diffuse but glucose (monomer) did diffuse. Also, the slope of the concentration gradient affects the direction and extent of movement, highlighted in this lesson series with the flow of water that leads to equilibrium.

In the cell membrane model, the presence of the channel proteins explain how large molecules diffuse (given a larger pathway to flow from high to low concentration). What is not explicitly explained is how water (a hydrophilic molecule) can penetrate the inner membrane space chock full of hydrophobic phospholipid tails. Of course the answer is the formation of specific water channels (aquaporins) that overcome this chemical hurdle.

In sum, students will be able to describe a diverse landscape of the membrane featuring varied proteins, phospholipids, and even signal-molecules (which extends beyond the scope of cell transport but is super duper important nonetheless)!

  Membrane structure begets its function
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Membrane structure begets its function
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Water on the Move: Osmosis (#3 of 3)

Unit 2: 2) Cells ("Form and Function")
Lesson 16 of 20

Objective: Students will be able to understand the hierarchical nature of multicellular organisms. Furthermore, students will be able to model the process of osmosis and predict and explain its outcomes given the conditions of the environment.

Big Idea: The structure of the cell membrane in addition to specific internal and external conditions dictate how water diffuses sometimes with drastic results!

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Science, diffusion, cells, form vs. function, Osmosis, Concentration Gradient, permeability, models, cell transport, hierachical organization, scientific conclusions
  55 minutes
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