“Alien soup” is a fun way of learning how to separate mixtures using scientific processes.
What you need
- rice, sand, salt, paperclips
- glass, spoons, sieve, magnet, filter paper
- lid of a larger saucepan
- dish to collect water drops (large because you don’t know exactly where they’ll land)
What you do
I gave the children a copy of the Alien Soup “recipe”. (You can obtain the printable by registering on the TES website – it’s free.)
C(9) and J(8) mixed up a spoonful each of rice, sand, salt, 10 paperclips and 100ml of water.
Then they read …
“Oops! We added too much salt! We need to separate out all the ingredients and start again!”
You should have seen the looks on their faces at this point. “What? How are we going to separate that?!”
It was fun watching as they gradually figured out how to separate each ingredient.
Separating the mixture
J(8) remembered how we’d removed paperclips from water when we had our magnet morning.
“Hmmm. The salt is dissolved in the water! How do we get that back out?”
Then C(9) remembered how J(8) had done exactly that earlier this year. (A project he’d asked to do while browsing our Science Experiments book.)
They heated the salt solution in a saucepan, capturing the evaporated water on the oversized lid. The condensed water was then collected as it dripped off the lid.
I hadn’t been sure how C(9) and J(8) would get on with this activity. I knew they’d enjoy it, but I thought I might have to help them more than I did.
Seeing how they confidently and intelligently tackled the puzzle reassured me that our science un-curriculum is still working well.
I’m appreciatively linking up here:
Entertaining and Educational
The Homeschool Mother’s Journal
13 thoughts on “Alien Soup – How to Separate Mixtures”
It’s fantastic to see how the children are so engaged in their learning via discovery. I suspect that you’ll increasingly find more instances that tells you that your science un-curriculum is working very well. 🙂
I hope so, Hwee! It genuinely was very rewarding seeing them making connections with what we’d done before.
Oh this is another great activity. Thanks so much. We will do it as part of our Earth science this year. It looks like a mining operation.
Thank you, Julie. Yes I’d not thought of it like that but you’re right about the mining operation!
This looks like such a fun experiment – and it must have been rewarding for all of you when the kids figured out each step! There’s no doubt your un-curriculum will continue leading them to discover and make connections about the various elements of science while enjoying themselves – sounds perfect to me! (Fun alien font by the way)
Thanks for noticing the alien font, it took a while to get the background right so it showed up! 😉
Great activity and one I shall be introducing to the children. Alien soup? They’ll not be able to resist!
I know. Also referred to as wizard stew … gotta love those TES contributors!
Oh, this is so much fun. I love how much fun your school is. I want to be a student in your homeschool!
Ah thank you, Phyllis! It’s fun being the mum in our homeschool too!
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Hey, what are the dependent, independent, controlled variables in this experiment?
hi Aisha, we did this activity for fun rather than following a strict scientific methodology so I’m afraid I can’t answer your question.