Mixing It Up

The separation of components in a mixture is very important in many scientific fields. When scientists need to study one particular component of a mixture, various separation methods are used. These methods often utilize the physical, and sometimes the chemical 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 as much 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 filings from the mixture and sieves were a popular choice for separating the rice and sand.

All the teams did a great job!

Additional Information:

Music Video: Meet the Elements (3:15) — They Might Be Giants https://


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