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Separating Mixtures

In this worksheet, students will be exploring some of the ways we can separate the different substances in a mixture.

'Separating Mixtures' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Properties and Changes of Materials

Curriculum subtopic:  Separating Mixtures

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

We often come across things that have been mixed together. If you pour muesli into a bowl at breakfast time you can see that it is a mixture of things like oatflakes, fruits and nuts. Another, not so tasty, mixture might be the paper, glass and tins in a recycling bin. The things in a mixture don't join together to make something new. They can be separated out.

 

Mixture of peas and beans

 

These beans and peas make a colourful (and nutritious!) mixture. With a lot of patience they could be separated into small piles of different peas and beans.

 

Let's look at some of the ways we can separate a mixture.

You are helping out in the garden and you've been asked to get some of the big stones out of the soil.

 

How could this sieve help you?

 

Sieve

the fine mesh of the filter lets the soil through but traps the stones

looking through the mesh makes it easier to see the stones on the ground

pouring water through the mesh lets you wash the soil away from the stones

What do you use if you want to separate solid particles from a liquid, like 'bits' from orange juice?

a filter

a magnet

a vacuum cleaner

A solution is a type of mixture in which one substance is dissolved in another, for example salt dissolves in water. This means that the salt is mixed into the water in such tiny particles you can't see them any more.

 

How can we separate the salt from the water?

use magnets

evaporate the water

use a fine filter

You accidentally pour olive oil into some water. How can you separate them again?

 

Oil in water

let the water evaporate

wait until the oil floats on top of the water

filter the oil

The people at a recycling plant want to separate out the iron and steel from the other scrap metals.

 

How could they do this?

 

Scrapyard magnet

use strong acids to dissolve the other metals

pick out all of the rusty bits

use a powerful magnet to pull out the iron and steel

When coffee granules are stirred into water, a brown liquid is formed.

 

Cup of coffee

 

What is the name we use to describe the brown liquid?

liquid

solution

runny

muddy

When coffee granules are stirred into water, a brown liquid is formed.

 

What has happened to the coffee granules?

they dissolved

they melted

they disappeared

they sunk to the bottom

Imagine that on a camping trip some sand has ended up in the jar of coffee granules.  Yuk!  No one wants sand in their cuppa!

 

Which ONE of these is the correct order of steps for separating the coffee granules from the sand?

filtering then evaporating then dissolving

evaporating then dissolving then filtering

dissolving then filtering then evaporating

filtering then dissolving then evaporating

When "proper" coffee is being made using ground coffee instead of instant coffee granules, it is often made in a machine like this.

 

Coffee Pot

 

Inside is a coffee filter like this:

 

Coffee filter

 

What do you think it's for?  Tick TWO answers.

helping water through

keeping coffee grounds back

allowing coffee solution through

making coffee hot

If the coffee is allowed to boil for too long, the solid coffee and the liquid water would become separated once again.

 

Where do you think most of the water would be now?

back in the kettle

up in the air

all over the kitchen surface

  • Question 1

You are helping out in the garden and you've been asked to get some of the big stones out of the soil.

 

How could this sieve help you?

 

Sieve

CORRECT ANSWER
the fine mesh of the filter lets the soil through but traps the stones
EDDIE SAYS
A sieve is used to separate large particles from smaller ones. The size of particles that are trapped by the sieve depends on how big or small the holes in the mesh are.
  • Question 2

What do you use if you want to separate solid particles from a liquid, like 'bits' from orange juice?

CORRECT ANSWER
a filter
EDDIE SAYS
A filter is type of sieve in which the holes are so small that only the liquid can get through. All the solid particles get stuck in the tiny holes.
  • Question 3

A solution is a type of mixture in which one substance is dissolved in another, for example salt dissolves in water. This means that the salt is mixed into the water in such tiny particles you can't see them any more.

 

How can we separate the salt from the water?

CORRECT ANSWER
evaporate the water
EDDIE SAYS
If you leave a dish of salty water long enough eventually all of the water will evaporate and the salt crystals will be left behind. No filter is fine enough to trap the dissolved salt.
  • Question 4

You accidentally pour olive oil into some water. How can you separate them again?

 

Oil in water

CORRECT ANSWER
wait until the oil floats on top of the water
EDDIE SAYS
Oil is less dense ('lighter') than water. If you leave the mixture undisturbed the oil will eventually form a layer on top of the water. Then you can gently pour it off - this is called DECANTING.
  • Question 5

The people at a recycling plant want to separate out the iron and steel from the other scrap metals.

 

How could they do this?

 

Scrapyard magnet

CORRECT ANSWER
use a powerful magnet to pull out the iron and steel
EDDIE SAYS
Iron and steel are magnetic materials and are attracted to a magnet. Other metals such as aluminium and copper are not magnetic. So, at the scrapyard they hover a giant electromagnet over a jumbled mess of bits of metal and just the iron and steel bits are attracted to it, and so separated.
  • Question 6

When coffee granules are stirred into water, a brown liquid is formed.

 

Cup of coffee

 

What is the name we use to describe the brown liquid?

CORRECT ANSWER
solution
EDDIE SAYS
A solution (and not the Sherlock Holmes-type!) is the result of a solid DISSOLVING in a liquid. So the brown coffee granules dissolve in the water to form coffee solution (otherwise known as a cup of coffee!).
  • Question 7

When coffee granules are stirred into water, a brown liquid is formed.

 

What has happened to the coffee granules?

CORRECT ANSWER
they dissolved
EDDIE SAYS
When a solid DISSOLVES in a liquid, the result is a solution - like sugar stirred into water makes sugar solution. Dissolving means that the particles of solid mix with the particles of liquid so that you can no longer see any solid. If you thought 'melted' was right, go and find out what 'melting' actually means.
  • Question 8

Imagine that on a camping trip some sand has ended up in the jar of coffee granules.  Yuk!  No one wants sand in their cuppa!

 

Which ONE of these is the correct order of steps for separating the coffee granules from the sand?

CORRECT ANSWER
dissolving then filtering then evaporating
EDDIE SAYS
So, you have one soluble solid (coffee) and one insoluble solid (sand). To get them apart you first need to mix them in water (the coffee granules DISSOLVE). Then you need to FILTER the mixture (the sand gets left behind) and finally EVAPORATE the water away to leave just the solid coffee. Well, that's the principle, anyway!
  • Question 9

When "proper" coffee is being made using ground coffee instead of instant coffee granules, it is often made in a machine like this.

 

Coffee Pot

 

Inside is a coffee filter like this:

 

Coffee filter

 

What do you think it's for?  Tick TWO answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
keeping coffee grounds back
allowing coffee solution through
EDDIE SAYS
The coffee filter is made with tiny holes so that the solid bits of coffee bean (the 'grounds') get stuck in the paper. However, the dissolved coffee in the water (the solution) is allowed through the holes, not just the water. The machine heats the water, not the filter paper.
  • Question 10

If the coffee is allowed to boil for too long, the solid coffee and the liquid water would become separated once again.

 

Where do you think most of the water would be now?

CORRECT ANSWER
up in the air
EDDIE SAYS
The water and the coffee have been separated once again! The water has evaporated into the air (although a little of it may have condensed on cool surfaces like the walls, windows, kitchen tops and so on). Most of it will be water vapour in the air though.
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