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What Dissolves in Water?

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

Will Solids and Liquids Mix?

When starting a new activity, it is always a good idea to focus students’ attention. 

Begin this activity by engaging students in a discussion. Ask students, How can you tell if something is dissolved?  

Show them a glass filled with tea (or water). Gradually add sugar and stir. Ask, Have you ever mixed or stirred something into a glass of water? What happened? Did the sugar dissolve in the water? 

Prompt students to create a working definition for determining if something has dissolved. Make sure students understand that "dissolve" means that one substance is no longer visible or becomes transparent within the other substance, and that the substance actually fades or disappears. 

Ask, Do you think that everything can mix in this way with water? What is an example of something you know does not mix with water? Tell students that they will observe what happens when they mix different substances with water.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education