Pure Substances and Mixtures

Pure Substances and Mixtures

Curriculum Expectation


Overall Expectation

Evaluate the social and environmental impacts of the use and disposal of pure substances and mixtures.


Specific Expectation

Assess the impact on society and the environment of different industrial methods of separating mixtures and solutions.

Learning Objectives/Big Idea

Learning Objective: Understand the properties of pure substances and mixtures and their environmental impact. 

Big Idea: How do different substances affect the environment and what are the roles we play in this?

Binogi Related Resources

Logo of Binogi

Additional Resources

National Geographic – Oil Spill Simulation (this lesson uses a simplified and modified version of National Geography’s oil spill simulation): https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/simulate-oil-spill-cleanup/

 Oil Spill Experiment Observation & Question Sheet:

–  paper cup     – wide container / bucket

– paper towels    – dishwashing soap

– cardboards      – red food colouring

– cotton balls     – spoon

– popsicle stick   – vegetable oil

– dense sponges  – water


Dissolve, soluble, solute, soluble, insoluble, dispersant, oil spill

The Glossary Sheets to the left include terms from Binogi’s Animal Cell and Plant Cell Videos in both English and Arabic.

Activity: Minds On

Use Jamboard or Padlet and create a Venn diagram. Students compare and contrast pure substances, solutions, and mechanical mixtures.

Activity: Action

Students work in a group to do an oil spill simulation. Each group will follow the steps below and complete an observation sheet:

    1. In a paper cup, mix 4 spoons of vegetable oil with 1-4 drops of red food colouring (note that they will not mix). The vegetable oil represents crude oil and the food colouring represents chemicals trapped inside the oil. 
    2. Fill the container with water, then pour the oil and food colouring mixture – this represents oil spill. Float a popsicle stick, which represents a ship, in the middle of the oil spill. Answer Question 1 in the observation sheet.
    3. Use cotton balls, cardboard, and paper towels (smaller than 1 inch), and foam/sponge and try to remove the oil before it reaches the sides of their container.
    4. Record the findings in the observation sheet (under “BEFORE the Use of Dispersant”).
    5. Add a few drops of dishwashing soap: dispersant. Answer Question 2 in the observation sheet.
    6. Repeat Step 3, then record the findings in the observation sheet (under “AFTER the Use of Dispersant”).

Consolidation - Language Friendly Pedagogy

Ask students whether they can add new vocabulary to their Concept Detective document. You may print this or make a copy  for each student on programs like Google Classroom. Students will be encouraged to use this document each class to identify new words, consider writing meaning or finding meanings with the help of peers, teachers and/ or parents. 

Examples of concepts to add for this unit include: 

  • particle theory
  • soluble and insoluble
  • dispersants
  • sea pollution
  • processes to separate mixed substances/solutions