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Does it Dissolve?

Have you ever wondered why certain things dissolve in water, where others don’t? This is your chance to test out some theories and learn why and how it happens!

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  • What do you know about mixtures and solutions?
  • What materials do you need for this activity?
  • How long will this activity take to complete?


  • Discuss the difference between a mixture and a solution
  • Mixture: When two or more kinds of matter are put together
  • Solution: A homogenous mixture that is formed when a liquid, solid or gas is dissolved into a liquid
  • Gather your materials
  • Set up 3 cups filled with water
  • In the first cup, add in pebbles or sand and stir it with a spoon. Is this a mixture or a solution? (Mixture because the sand and water stay separate, and the sand does not dissolve)
  • In the second cup, add a spoonful of salt to the water and stir. Is this a mixture or a solution? (Solution because the salt dissolves or disappears in the liquid)
  • In the third cup, add a spoonful of oil and stir. Is this a mixture or solution? (Micture because the two liquids do not mix and stay separate from eachother)
  • Once observing the above reactions, use your other materials to test your theories on what combinations will equal a mixture and what will create a solution


  • What did you learn that you did not know before?
  • Why are mixtures and solutions so important?
  • What common mixtures and solutions do you know of?
  • Can you separate mixtures and solutions? How?


  • Water
  • Cups (to mix your liquids/solids in)
  • Spoons to stir
  • Pebbles or sand
  • Salt
  • Oil (vegetable/baby oil, etc)
  • Other liquids (soda, vinegar, mouth wash, hot or cold water, juice, etc.)
  • Other solids (flour, baking soda, cotton candy, etc.)

Keep it Simple

  • Discuss the definitions of solutions and mixtures. Brainstorm some common solutions and mixtures that you know of (could be things like kool-aid, household cleaners, powdered juice)

Take it Further

  • This activity will make you think quick on your feet! Grab a ball and stand in a circle. Toss the ball to one another. When you catch the ball, name a mixture that you know of. You can play another round where you name just solutions.