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Theme days are a fun way to introduce and reinforce science vocabulary instruction. Kids LOVE these easy themes. Think about how much they love dress-up days and project days. You don’t have to go ALL OUT to engage your students, but little things can make a difference.
I used a beach theme to teach mixtures and solutions vocabulary.
- 3 small pail sets per pair from Amazon (These aren’t quality enough to use at the actual beach, but they served their purpose for this activity. I taped the shovel parts together and it worked well.)
- mixed pack of seashells
Because I have a limited amount of time with my vocabulary groups, I prep more in advance than I would in my normal classroom. I made a skeleton of the anchor chart with the bucket drawings and title, set up the fold-ups for students observations, filled 2 buckets halfway with water for each pair and filled one bucket about 1/3 of the way with shells. I had scoops and shovels of salt and sand ready.
First, we set up an anchor chart and went over the vocabulary terms we would be working with for the day. I chose to focus on mixture, solution, dissolve, physical properties, and invisible. Depending on your group, you may want to add in solute and solvent.
Then, students worked in pairs to make a mixture of sand and shells, sand and water, and salt and water. After each one, we discussed our observations and students recorded what happened in their own words. I filled in the anchor chart with observations. The students were surprised that the sand didn’t dissolve in water. They really wanted to believe it would, but the evidence wasn’t there. Great aha moment!
This memorable activity helped the students get practice hearing, writing, and talking about the focus vocab. After we completed the activity, we extended the lesson by predicting how these mixtures could be separated.
More Resources for Mixtures and Solutions
Mixtures and Solutions Interactive Notebook Photos: See pics from my notebook!
Mixtures and Solutions Vocabulary Lesson: This free download has an alternative activity to introduce mixtures vocabulary.
Mixtures and Solutions Science Stations Unit: This resource on TpT has nine centers that allow students to explore and review mixtures.
Matter Mini-Charts: This resource on TpT has 20 information cards that can be used to reinforce your lessons.