All Mixed Up! But not for long —

Separation of Substances

The separation of components in a mixture is very important in many science fields. When scientists need to study one particular component of a mixture,various separation methods are used. These methods utilize the physical properties of the substances. After reviewing the differences between chemical elements, compounds, and mixtures, we discussed some common reasons and methods for separating out the components of a mixture.  Students were given a mixture of sand, rice, and iron filings and worked in teams to design and implement a multi-step purification process for this mixture, taking advantage of the different properties of each component to recover asmuch as possible. Various tools were provided to the students, including many household items such as colanders, sieves, coffee filters, magnets, and utensils.  Magnets were used by all groups to separate the iron fillings from the mixture, and colanders were the most popular item used to separate rice and sand.

The kids also got the words to this video: Meet the Elements (3:15) — They Might Be Giants https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy0m7jnyv6U.  Have fun checking it out!

Here are some snapshots of the Cunningham Chemists in action:

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Author

Dr. Catherine Sukow

Dr. Sukow's interest in science education began when she was a teenager, with an extended visit to San Francisco's Exploratorium. In college, she had summer jobs in a similar, smaller, museum. She focused her Master's research at NCSU on the structure of metal silicides on silicon, and her Ph. D. work at Brandeis on the structure of crossbridged actin bundles. While volunteering in her childrens' schools, she was reminded how much fun it is to teach science, and is happy to be teaching now with Science from Scientists. In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, choral and solo singing, and attempting a variety of international cuisines.

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