Out Teach
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Primary
  • Ifthen
  • Mixtures and Solutions
  • Out Teach
  • Physcial Sciences
  • Physical Properties of Matter
  • Science
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    Education Standards

    Components of Mixtures -- Out Teach

    Components of Mixtures -- Out Teach


    Students will create mixtures using objects they find in the garden. Also, they need to be able to write a conclusion based on observations.

    Background for Teachers:

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    In 5th grade, students should identify the characteristics of a mixture and how it is different from a solution. In a mixture, matter combines but their physical properties do not change (mixtures are easy to separate because of this). Solutions are a special kind of mixture where one type of matter dissolves into another type of matter and their physical properties change (solutions can be separated, but it is more complicated).

    Students understand that all solutions are mixtures, but not all mixtures are solutions

    This lesson can be combined in a series of lessons to teach the entire standard.

    Key Vocabulary:

    • Mixture

    • Solutions

    • Ingredient

    • Physical property

    Guiding Question:

    How does identifying and understanding physical properties of matter in the outdoor classroom help us understand mixtures?


    Before the Lesson/Set-up:

    Find an object in the garden and place it in a brown lunch sack. Label the lunch sack "What's the Matter?" On the board write the word physical properties


    Tell students you placed some matter in the bag, an object you found in the garden.

    Tell students they can ask (yes or no) questions about the objects physical properties. (Is it round, smooth, heavy etc.?)

    As students ask questions pertaining to a specific property, write it under the term physical property (ex. texture, size, odor, color, shape, weight, magnetism etc.).

    After 10 questions allow students to guess the matter using evidence. (I claim it is based on_____________.)


    Ask: How does matter relate to mixtures? (Mixtures combine two or more kinds of matter. Those ingredients maintain their physical properties.)

    Ask: Could you create a mixture here in this garden space?

    Give students small Ziplock bags and have them create mixtures of their own.


    o Management Note:

    Make sure to use the small sandwich bags and tell students to fill them half way.

    Ensure students understand the boundaries of the area they are exploring, review expectations and make sure they listen for the signal to return to the gathering space.


    Mixtures are 2 or more kinds of matter that when combined maintain their physical properties.

    Student pairs will trade their baggies with another pair to record the contents of their mixture.


    o Management Note:

    If students are collecting living organisms in their bags, please encourage them to handle safely and remember where they picked them from. They will want to return them to their "home" when finished.


    After students have had time to collect data on the different components of their sample, suggest that the class compare their data with one another.

    Ask: Which type of graph would make it easiest to see which type of component each soil sample had the most of?

    Give students time to translate the data they collected into a bar graph, providing the necessary scaffolding so that graphs are consistent across the class for making authentic comparisons.

    After each student has created a bar graph of the different components of their mixtures, lead them in a discussion on solutions as another type of mixture.


    Based on the physical properties of your mixture, do you think would adding 100ml of water to it cause a change to any component. Predict and Explain.

    What physical property would change and how?

    Extension Ideas:

    Add 100mL of water to each solution to test prediction.

    Encourage students to develop a plan for separating their mixtures based on their physical properties.

    Write a poem on mixtures and solutions

    Can they go home and create mixtures and solutions in the kitchen or closet.

    Nutrition Connections:

    Make snacks that are mixtures (trail mix) and solutions (lemonade)

    Career Connections

    The IF/THEN collection is the world’s largest free digital library of authentic and relatable images and videos of women STEM innovators.  


    Dr. Yamina Pressler is a soil scientist that first discovered the complex world of soil in the classroom. 


    Have your students watch this video for inspiration about pursuing STEM careers, and read this profile to learn more about Dr. Pressler's story.


    Thank you for creating a culture shift in how the world perceives women in STEM.