ALEX Lesson Plan


Separation of a Mixture

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Pamela Cranford
System: Montgomery County
School: Lee High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 10248


Separation of a Mixture


Students will use their knowledge of physical properties to separate a mixture of four ingredients. The students are required to design their own laboratory procedure for separating the mixture. The separation process itself encourages mastery of several laboratory techniques.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (9-12) Physical Science
2. Identify solutions in terms of components, solubility, concentration, and conductivity.
  • Comparing saturated, unsaturated, and supersaturated solutions
  • Comparing characteristics of electrolytes and nonelectrolytes
  • Describing factors that affect solubility and rate of solution, including nature of solute and solvent, temperature, agitation, surface area, and pressure on gases
  • SC (9-12) Chemistry
    4. Describe solubility in terms of energy changes associated with the solution process.
  • Using solubility curves to interpret saturation levels
  • Explaining the conductivity of electrolytic solutions
  • Describing acids and bases in terms of strength, concentration, pH, and neutralization reactions
  • Describing factors that affect the rate of solution
  • Solving problems involving molarity, including solution preparation and dilution
  • SC2015 (9-12) Physical Science
    1. Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties and trends (e.g., reactivity of metals; types of bonds formed, including ionic, covalent, and polar covalent; numbers of bonds formed; reactions with oxygen) of main group elements based on the patterns of valence electrons in atoms.
    SC2015 (9-12) Chemistry
    4. Plan and conduct an investigation to classify properties of matter as intensive (e.g., density, viscosity, specific heat, melting point, boiling point) or extensive (e.g., mass, volume, heat) and demonstrate how intensive properties can be used to identify a compound.
    SC2015 (9-12) Chemistry
    6. Use mathematics and computational thinking to express the concentrations of solutions quantitatively using molarity.
    a. Develop and use models to explain how solutes are dissolved in solvents.
    b. Analyze and interpret data to explain effects of temperature on the solubility of solid, liquid, and gaseous solutes in a solvent and the effects of pressure on the solubility of gaseous solutes.
    c. Design and conduct experiments to test the conductivity of common ionic and covalent substances in a solution.
    d. Use the concept of pH as a model to predict the relative properties of strong, weak, concentrated, and dilute acids and bases (e.g., Arrhenius and Brønsted-Lowry acids and bases).

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will identify the physical properties of each of the four components of the mixture.
    Students will predict how the physical properties of each component can be used to separate them.
    Students will design their own experiment to be used for separating the four components of the mixture.
    Students will use various laboratory techniques for the separation.
    Students will record the results of their experiment and organize their findings into a semiformal lab report.
    Students will analyze their findings and evaluate their methods.
    Students will reflect on how their experiment could be improved in the future.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    91 to 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Teacher preparation: prepare a mixture of salt, sand, poppy seeds and iron filings. Prepare enough mixture for each group to have about a tablespoon. Student materials: (each group should have these available) blank lab report form, mixture sample, petri dish (or other container such as a paper cup for their mixture), beakers, bunsen burner, ring stand, striker, wire gauze, water, funnel, filter paper, plastic wrap, magnet, spoon, microplate (96 well plate or something similar in which to place each component as it is separated), evaporating dish, spatula, goggles, apron

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Digital probeware and compatible computers should be used if available, computers with Internet access for research


    Be sure to have covered safety rules and have all safety contracts signed. Students should be familiar with heterogeneous mixtures, physical properties, lab safety procedures, filtering, setting up a basic ring stand and burner apparatus, lighting a bunsen burner, and the scientific method. This lab lends itself to teaching the scientific method and lab techniques.
    The teacher should schedule time for research in the computer lab or media center.

    1.)Describe to the class the mixture that they are to separate. At this time students are to research the physical properties of each component to determine what could be used in the separation process. Examples include: magnetism, solubility, density etc.

    2.)Divide the class into lab groups of 2-4. Give each group a blank lab format handout. (See attachment)

    3.)Provide, and post a list of, all available equipment and ask each group to devise a plan for separating the mixture.

    4.)Each group is to fill in each area of their lab sheet with the activity they designed in the previous step. The teacher may help as much or as little as necessary in coming up with a reasonable hypothesis, a complete materials list and clear, concise procedures. This lab is designed to be an inquiry lesson with little or no help, but it can be "spoon fed" depending on student ability levels/experience.

    5.)Students should now perform the experiment they designed to gather results for use in the final step.

    6.)Assist students in using their experimental results to develop a proper analysis and conclusion. This is especially helpful to college prep students as this is a necessary skill for college courses.

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    Assessment Strategies

    A short quiz on this lab may be appropriate. A set of questions on the next test may be preferred. The lab report itself may be graded for detail and accuracy. It is important that students strive for perfection on this lab report in order to gain a basic but crucial skill for future science courses.




    Use a mastery learning approach by handing the papers back to be rewritten or corrected as needed until the group reaches a perfect score.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.