Lesson Plan

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures


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In this lesson, students will learn that all matter can be classified as either a pure substance or a mixture. They will also learn that both mixtures and pure substances can be broken down into subcategories and that there are techniques chemists use to determine in which category a sample of matter belongs. Students will:

  • classify a sample of matter in terms of pure substances and mixtures.

  • distinguish between homogenous and heterogeneous mixtures.

  • distinguish between solutions, colloids, and suspensions.

  • recognize the difference between an element and a compound.

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  • Element: Pure substance consisting of one type of atom.

  • Compound: Pure substance consisting of two or more different atoms.

  • Mixture: Two or more different substances not chemically combined.

  • Colloid: A heterogeneous mixture that exhibits the Tyndall effect.

  • Suspension: A heterogeneous mixture that has particles large enough to settle out.

  • Solution: A homogenous mixture in which the particles are very small.

  • Tyndall effect: The scattering of light in a colloid.

  • Homogeneous mixture: A mixture with a uniform composition.

  • Heterogeneous mixture: A mixture with a nonuniform composition.

  • Element symbol: An abbreviation for an element’s name found on the periodic table.

  • Compound formula: Represents the combination of two or more elements in fixed proportions. Subscripts designate the number of atoms of each element.


90 minutes/2 class periods

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