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Top 3 Resources for Teaching States of Matter and Separating Mixtures

Updated: Mar 18

During the pandemic when most if not all of our classes were conducted remotely, I had to find a way of upgrading my traditional worksheets to keep students engaged and interested in the online environment.


I saw a perfect opportunity for this when it came to the topic of matter, kinetic (particle) theory, and changing state, a topic which can only benefit students if taught visually. Due to the abstract nature of chemistry, I am always looking for opportunities to make the content more accessible and fun for my students.


Here are three activities that I use with Google slides ᵀᴹ to engage students with the submicroscopic level of chemistry while helping to improve students' problem-solving skills.



1. Teaching States of Matter and Changing State


The activities in this resource focused on the states of matter, properties of matter and changing physical state, come in a variety of formats where students may need to fill in the blanks, drag and drop the different physical properties of matter to match the correct state, label a heating curve, or build a model using the different "atoms" provided.


digital resource for teaching structure and properties of matter
Here is a drag-and-drop activity where students are required to match the physical property with the correct state of matter

Why this would be great for your classroom

  • This resource adds a bit of flavor to a topic that can become boring. It makes it more visual which students enjoy.

  • This resource contains several different activities to test your students' understanding of matter and changing state on the particle level.

Levels of Cognitive Learning Engaged

  1. Remember

  2. Understand

  3. Apply



2. Teaching Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures


This resource is my favorite for reviewing elements, compounds and mixtures and engages students' higher-order thinking skills ( especially create/ synthesis based on Bloom's taxonomy).


In this resource, students learn all about the differences between elements compounds, and mixtures on the particle level.


If you are interested I describe how this topic can be taught visually using Johnstone's Chemistry Triangle here.



This activity will have students build abstract models (among other activities) based on the knowledge gleaned from previous activities. Below is an example of a slide where students are required to create different representations of elements using only the particles provided and another where students are required to create different compounds.


Digital resource for teaching elements compounds and mixtures
Sample activity where students are required to create elements

Digital resource for teaching elements compounds and mixtures
Sample activity where students are required to create compounds

Why this would be great for your classroom

  • Engages students on the highest cognitive level of learning

  • An excellent resource for your visual and kinesthetic learners


Levels of Cognitive Learning Engaged

  1. Remember

  2. Understand

  3. Apply

  4. Create


3. Teaching Separating Mixtures/ Separation Techniques


This resource is a favorite among my older students (ages 14-16) and deals with separating mixtures and the various separation techniques. This one is similar to the states of matter activity and involves mostly problem-solving activities.


I usually assign this resource to students via Google Classroom to reinforce what we learned about mixtures and the underlying theories of the different separation techniques.


Below is an example of one of the activities from this resource, where students are required to identify the apparatus needed to separate a sample of barium sulfate from a soluble impurity.


Digital Resource for teaching separating Mixtures/ Separation Techniques



Why this would be great for your classroom

  • an excellent resource for your visual and kinesthetic learners

  • add a bit of pizzazz to the traditional worksheets

  • acts as a great review of the different laboratory techniques and underlying theories for the different separation techniques.

  • can easily be assigned via Google Classroom for revision purposes.

Levels of Cognitive Learning Engaged

  1. Remember

  2. Understand

  3. Apply

  4. Analyze


So if you're looking for a few paperless resources that can easily be assigned, that are visually appealing, and that students enjoy, then you should check out my collection of digital resources on Teacher's Pay Teachers.


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