Have you ever mixed things in the kitchen just to see what you could make? Maybe you sprinkled some cinnamon or salt in a cup of water or poured in a splash of vinegar or oil.
Maybe you called it a potion, but you were also making a solution or a mixture. You were being a chemist!
- A solution happens when one substance is completely dissolved in another. If you mix sugar and water, for instance, you can make a solution.
- A mixture happens when you combine two substances but they don’t completely mix. If you added sand to a cup of water, for example, the sand would sink to the bottom.
- The substance to be dissolved is called a solute. The substance doing the dissolving is the solvent. If you added a few drops of food coloring to water, the food coloring would be the solute; the water is the solvent.
- Solutions can be a mixture of liquids, gases, and solids.
Solution: A combination of two or more substances in which one substance is dissolved in another
Mixture: Two substances that are together, but not entirely combined
Watch a 6th grade science teacher explain more about solutions.
Q and A
Question: What types of mixtures are there?
Answer: In heterogeneous mixtures, you can see all the individual materials in a substance, for example, a bowl of M and Ms or trail mix. In a homogenous mixture (or solution), you can’t see individual materials. Chocolate is a homogenous mixture. It has chocolate, sugar, milk, and other ingredients in it, but you can’t see the individual materials.