Separating solids and liquids

Trudy Gunderson, Pearson Elementary, Shakopee, MN based on an original activity from "Littlest Scientists Hands on Activities: Fun with Mixing and Chemistry"
Author Profile


In this chemistry lab, students will investigate how to separate solids and liquids. Students will research an investigable question made by the group, record results in their science journals, and write a conclusion. Next, students will create another related investigable question they have and investigate the results, sharing data with the class.

Learning Goals

This lesson is designed for students to: 1.) develop observation and data recording skills, 2.) write and answer an investigable question, and 3.) practice scientific methods
Concepts: Students will discover that some mixtures of solids and liquids are easily separated. They will also conduct an investigation on a question they have developed.



Context for Use

This lesson is designed for use as a lab for a classroom of 20-25 second graders. To ensure that there is enough time to investigate and observe, record, discuss, and then create and answer an investigable question and share results, you may need two 1 hour sessions to complete this lesson. Your students will need a pencil and a science journal or some other place to record observations and data collected during the investigation. They will also need a place to write their own investigable question with space to record findings and conclusion.

Description and Teaching Materials

As a group, we will discuss whether a mixture of a solid and a liquid could be separated. This will define the inquiry question and then students will investigate whether pepper can be separated from water, recording results in their journal. Next, they will think of another mixture that they would like to investigate, write an investigable question, and carry out the experiment, recording results in science journals. Finally, students will be asked to share results, so we could attempt to draw conclusions from the compiled data.

-Coffee filters
-Measuring spoons
-Small containers

Teaching Notes and Tips

You may want to schedule this for one hour on one day and another hour on a different day to ensure that you have time to gather necessary materials for the students' investigable questions.


Students will be assessed by teacher observation throughout the activities. Science journals will also be used to ensure that student learning is meeting the goals of the lesson and misconceptions are addressed and corrected.


2.II.A.2 (classify a substance as a solid, liquid or gas)
2.II.A.3 (solids have a definite shape and liquids take the shape of their container)
2.I.B.1 (use appropriate tools to gather and organize data)

References and Resources