MIXTURES AND SOLUTIONS
January 8, 2017
Our class has begun a new science unit, Mixtures and Solutions. We will be studying basic
concepts in chemistry, and finding out how materials interact with each other. Students will learn
what happens when simple materials, such as gravel, salt, and water, are put together. They will also
learn techniques for separating the resulting mixtures and solutions. As our studies continue, we will
investigate combinations of materials, such as baking soda and calcium chloride (the salt used to melt
ice on roads), that react when mixed to produce new products—chalk, carbon dioxide gas, and table
salt. We will engage in an engineering challenge dealing with desalination.
One of the most demanding intellectual activities in the enterprise of science is developing
descriptive, explanatory models to advance the understanding of complex natural phenomena.
Models provide intellectual structures to important ideas that are inaccessible to direct observation.
But bringing understanding to the inaccessible is a critically important dimension of science. We
expect students to develop their first, primitive models of the particulate nature of matter. Their
models at this level will be incomplete and limited, but expect them to have some interesting
intellectual experiences as they grapple with explanations for the commonplace phenomena they
You can bring chemistry to life at home by exploring familiar household materials in a scientific way.
Some of the interesting chemicals you may have on hand include baking soda, baking powder, alum,
table salt, Epsom salts, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and vinegar. Add to these a few pieces of “laboratory
equipment,” such as jars, margarine tubs, plastic cups, and spoons, and you are ready to extend the
classroom experiences into your home. Reminder: Just as we do at school, you and your student
should review and follow important safety procedures, even when working with familiar materials.
Have a plan before starting an investigation.
Avoid skin contact with experimental materials. Clean up spills immediately. Rinse with water if
materials contact skin, eyes, or clothes. Wash hands after completing experiments.
Never taste the experiments.
We are looking
forward to many weeks of exciting investigations with mixtures and solutions. You can get more
information on this module by going to www.FOSSweb.com.