membrane potential class demonstration

Brent Fedirchuk brent at
Tue Dec 3 15:58:35 EST 1996

Kevin Quinn (k-quinn at wrote:
: I'm interested in developing an in-class demonstration of the resting
: membrane potential of a cell and was wondering if anyone has ever
: developed such a demonstration.  This is for a class in physiological
: psychology that I will be teaching (lecture only - no lab).  Ideally it
: would be accomplished with very simple materials - to make the point about
: a semipermeable membrane and the right ion distribution really resulting
: in a voltage gradient!  If anyone has suggestions for what may have worked
: for them in the past I'd be most grateful.

I haven't tried it myself (or even seen it done), but I have thought that
using different colored and sized plastic balls (=ions) and a mesh or net
that will allow some through but not others (maybe fishing net??) might be
a useful aid. Then again, it could be a disaster... but who knows 'til you

my $.02, good luck


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