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Compare and Contrast Active Transport with Diffusion and Osmosis

In this worksheet, students will compare and contrast active transport with diffusion and osmosis.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Active transport is the movement of substances from an area of low concentration to a higher concentration either into or out of cells.

Image of carrier proteins and active transport

During active transport, carriers in the cell membrane ‘pick up’ particles and move them against the concentration gradient.

As the name suggests, active transport requires energy from the cell, which is made available by respiration.

Image showing active transport

In the picture above, there are three particles outside of the cell and five particles inside the cell. The three particles will be carried through to the inside of the cell by the carrier protein using energy to do so.

Uses of Active Transport

 Image of villi in intestine

During digestion, the villi in the small intestine absorb the nutrients from our digested food. Over time, the concentration of nutrients in the villi is equal with the concentration in the gut. The cells need these nutrients so active transport is used to continue the transport of the small amounts of remaining nutrients. 

Image of root hair cell

Plants absorb minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium from the soil for healthy growth. Plants need a variety of minerals because they are used by the plant in different ways. Nitrogen in the form of nitrates is used to make proteins while phosphorus and potassium are needed for respiration.  Magnesium is needed to make chlorophyll for which plants need in order to photosynthesise.

When the concentration of these minerals in the soil is lower than inside the plant, active transport is used to absorb the minerals against the concentration gradient. If plants used diffusion instead of active transport, the plants would be drained of all their minerals because they would travel down the concentration gradient, the plant would lose all its nutrients to the soil.

In the following activity, you will compare and contrast the process of active transport with diffusion and osmosis.

What do active transport, diffusion and osmosis have in common?

Energy

Water

Carrier protein

Different concentrations of particles

Plant and animal cells use active transport, diffusion and osmosis to transport important nutrients into or out of their cells. Compare and contrast these three important processes by filling in the blanks below. 

 

Energy

Water

Carrier protein

Different concentrations of particles

Plants need important substances for different living processes. Plant cells get these different substances through diffusion, osmosis and active transport. Match up the sentences highlighting the differences between the three processes.

Column A

Column B

Active Transport
The movement of molecules against a concentration ...
Diffusion
The movement of molecules from an area of high con...
Osmosis
The diffusion of water molecules from a dilute sol...

What are some of the differences between osmosis and active transport? Select one answer in each row.

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

Osmosis and active transport are two processes used by cells in plants and animals. Name a similarity between the process of osmosis and active transport. Select one answer below.

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

Moves down concentration gradient

Energy needed

Transports substances into or out of cells

Carrier protein needed

The table below shows two images, image A and image B of particles moving through a membrane. Label each image by selecting one answer in each row.

 A

 

Image of glucose into cell via active transport

B Image of particles moving via osmosis
 OsmosisDiffusionActive Transport
A
B

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

The diagram above shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant. Why is it important that the nitrates move by active transport and not diffusion? Select one answer below.

Diffusion would take longer to transport the nitrates

Diffusion would mean the plant would lose nitrates to the soil

Diffusion is passive

Image of carrier proteins transporting glucose

Glucose is transported into cells for respiration. The above picture shows three molecules of glucose outside the cell and five molecules of glucose inside the cell. Select which arrow fits best in box a and box b above.

(a) →

(b) ←

(a) ↓

(b) ↓

Active transport, diffusion and osmosis are all needed for different life processes. Select the correct examples and the processes below. Select one in each row.

The table below shows three images, image A, B and C. Which image shows particles moving down a concentration gradient? Select two answers below.

 A

 

Image of glucose into cell via active transport

B Image of particles moving via osmosis
C Image of particles moving by diffusion
A

B

C

A and C

  • Question 1

What do active transport, diffusion and osmosis have in common?

CORRECT ANSWER
Different concentrations of particles
EDDIE SAYS
In order for particles to move, either down a concentration gradient or against it, there needs to be different concentrations of particles to start off with.
  • Question 2

Plant and animal cells use active transport, diffusion and osmosis to transport important nutrients into or out of their cells. Compare and contrast these three important processes by filling in the blanks below. 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The above activity would make great notes for revision, especially for the extended question and answer section in your exams.
  • Question 3

Plants need important substances for different living processes. Plant cells get these different substances through diffusion, osmosis and active transport. Match up the sentences highlighting the differences between the three processes.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Active Transport
The movement of molecules against...
Diffusion
The movement of molecules from an...
Osmosis
The diffusion of water molecules ...
EDDIE SAYS
With osmosis and diffusion particles moves from a higher concentration to a lower concentration. With active transport, it's the opposite- from a lower concentration to a higher concentration.
  • Question 4

What are some of the differences between osmosis and active transport? Select one answer in each row.

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Osmosis and active transport are almost opposite processes in that one is passive (osmosis) and the other needs energy (active transport). Remembering one process will hopefully help you to remember the other for your exams!
  • Question 5

Osmosis and active transport are two processes used by cells in plants and animals. Name a similarity between the process of osmosis and active transport. Select one answer below.

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

CORRECT ANSWER
Transports substances into or out of cells
EDDIE SAYS
Osmosis and active transport are similar in that they are used to transport different substances into or out of cells. How they transport these substances is where they differ.
  • Question 6

The table below shows two images, image A and image B of particles moving through a membrane. Label each image by selecting one answer in each row.

 A

 

Image of glucose into cell via active transport

B Image of particles moving via osmosis
CORRECT ANSWER
 OsmosisDiffusionActive Transport
A
B
EDDIE SAYS
The biggest clue pointing to active transport is the presence of a carrier protein in image A. Image B has a semi-permeable membrane which suggests this image is showing osmosis.
  • Question 7

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

The diagram above shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant. Why is it important that the nitrates move by active transport and not diffusion? Select one answer below.

CORRECT ANSWER
Diffusion would mean the plant would lose nitrates to the soil
EDDIE SAYS
Remember active transport is the movement of particles from low to high concentrations. Diffusion is the opposite so particles move from high to low concentrations. If this happened here, the plant would become drained of all nutrients.
  • Question 8

Image of carrier proteins transporting glucose

Glucose is transported into cells for respiration. The above picture shows three molecules of glucose outside the cell and five molecules of glucose inside the cell. Select which arrow fits best in box a and box b above.

CORRECT ANSWER
(a) ↓
(b) ↓
EDDIE SAYS
The glucose travels against a concentration gradient from a lower concentration to a higher concentration via the carrier proteins.
  • Question 9

Active transport, diffusion and osmosis are all needed for different life processes. Select the correct examples and the processes below. Select one in each row.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
There are many examples of active transport, diffusion and osmosis but the above are the most common examples along with nitrate uptake by plant root hair cells. Make sure you're familiar with these examples for your exams.
  • Question 10

The table below shows three images, image A, B and C. Which image shows particles moving down a concentration gradient? Select two answers below.

 A

 

Image of glucose into cell via active transport

B Image of particles moving via osmosis
C Image of particles moving by diffusion
CORRECT ANSWER
B
C
EDDIE SAYS
When particles move down a concentration gradient it means particles are moving without the use of energy, from a high concentration to a low concentration. This happens in diffusion and osmosis but not in active transport.
---- OR ----

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