Separating Mixtures: How We Concentrate Natural Materials

How do miners isolate the substance they're looking for from a big pile of rock? Through an insightful lab, science scholars learn how to use their observation skills to identify physical properties that scientists use to separate mixtures. The experiment uses methods similar to those use in industry to separate coal from rock waste, gold from sand, and fluorite from calcite.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Link the jigging method of material separation to a study of its environmental impacts; jigging requires a large amount of water on an industrial level
Classroom Considerations

  • Pupils should have some prior experience with mixture separation before performing the lab
  • Prepare the separation methods ahead of time; you can reuse the apparatuses

  • Resource covers a variety of separation methods using many different materials
  • The content is engaging and well-organized

  • The link to a materials supplier for the lab is no longer valid
Common Core