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Mixtures that Maintain Physical Properties of their Ingredients


Mixtures that Maintain Physical Properties of their Ingredients

TEKS Objective

Students will demonstrate that some mixtures maintain physical properties of their ingredients such as iron filings and sand.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that (1) matter has measurable physical properties and (2) those properties determine how matter is classified, changed and used.

Science Background

Separating Mixtures: General Chemistry Online! (website) - Easy-to-read chart identifies different ways to separate mixtures, from magnets to filtration.

Separating Mixtures
by Fred Senese, General Chemistry Online,

A Magnetic Personality: TeachEngineering (website) - Introductory lesson on magnetism with a good background section on magnets.

A Magnetic Personality

Mixtures: Virtual Education (website) - Short page with straightforward explanations of mixtures, solutions, suspensions and colloids.

Monroe County Women's Disability Network,


Signature Lesson

Eat Iron? TeachEngineering (website) - Students learn that components of a heterogeneous mixture (corn flake cereal) conserve their properties, and also investigate ways to physically separate the mixture’s components, using a magnet.

Eat Iron?

Supporting Lessons

Separation of a Mixture: Alabama Learning Exchange (website) - Students explore mixtures, recognize that a mixture is created when two or more materials are combined, and design their own procedures for separating a mixture of four ingredients.

Separation of a Mixture
Alabama Learning Exchange,

Messin’ with Mixtures: TeachEngineering (website) - Students investigate the properties of trail mix, a heterogeneous mixture, as if it were a contaminated soil sample. They learn that physical means can be used to separate heterogeneous mixtures into their component parts, and that when separated, all the parts equal the whole.

Messin’ with Mixtures

Properties of Mixtures and Solutions: University of Virginia (website) - Students make observations, organize and analyze information, and measure and record data while identifying, separating and determining the concentrations of components in mixtures.

Properties of Mixtures and Solutions
University of Virginia,



Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Mixtures: TeachersNet (website) - Provides examples of six different simple mixtures (sand and water, for example) to use with students.

Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Mixtures

Mixtures and Solutions Lesson Plans, Worksheets, Printables: Plan It (website) Search Plan It allows you to find lessons and other resources on the area of physical science.

Mixtures and Solutions Lesson Plans, Worksheets, Printables
Plan It,


Assessment Ideas

  • Have students create a chart of sample mixtures and non-mixtures.
  • Give students performance assessments that challenge students to separate different types of mixtures.
  • Make a mixture of salt, sand and iron filings and ask students to devise and test a plan to separate the three components.
  • Have students create different mixtures and explain the properties of each.

  • Have students research different types of mixtures and how they are used in everyday life.

Literature Connections

Mix It Up! Solution or Mixture? Nelson, Tracy (ISBN-13: 978-1618102270)

Matter. Cooper, Christopher (ISBN-13: 978-0751361353)

Salt. Walpole, Brenda (ISBN-13: 978-1560740605)

Iron. Hasan, Heather (ISBN-13: 978-1404201576)

Mixtures and Solutions: Why Chemistry Matters. Aloian, M. (ISBN-13: 978-0778742500)

Mixtures and Solutions: Reading Essentials in Science. Karpelenia, J. (ISBN-13: 978-0756946425)

Related Science TEKS

(5.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations.

(5.1B) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to make informed choices in the conservation, disposal, and recycling of materials.

(5.2B) Ask Questions, Formulate a Hypothesis
The student is expected to ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology.

(5.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

(5.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected to analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence.

(5.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected to communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.

(5.2G) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected to construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using technology, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

(5.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, prisms, mirrors, pan balances, triple beam balances, spring scales, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observations of habitats or organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(5.4B) Safety Equipment
The student is expected to use safety equipment, including safety goggles and gloves.

Related Math TEKS

(5.11A) The student is expected to solve problems involving changes in temperature.

(5.14D) The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

(5.15A) The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Cleaning Water: ACS Chemistry for Life (website) - Investigate what it takes to clean up wastewater.

Cleaning Water
by the American Chemistry Society,

Mixtures and Solutions: (website) - Links to activity labs, quizzes, sideshows, and other resources to help you present and teach concepts related to mixtures and solutions.

Mixtures and Solutions,


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