Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures: Art or Chemistry

Length: 1 hour-long class period

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission engaged two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, to create site-specific public art works for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park (overseen by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency). This project honors William Edmondson, a native of Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists.

In this Science Lesson, students will:

  • Students will be formatively assessed during the jigsaw reading lesson through discussion and questioning
  • Lab handout
  • Exit Slip Day 1
  • Gallery Walk
  • Exit Slip Day 2

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical...
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a...
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on...
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
GLE 0707.INQ.2
Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, organize, analyze, and interpret data.
GLE 0707.INQ.5
Communicate scientific understanding using descriptions, explanations, and models.
GLE 0807.9.1
Understand that all matter is made up of atoms.
GLE 0807.9.2
Explain that matter has properties that are explained by the structure and arrangement of its atoms.
GLE 0807.9.3
Interpret data from an investigation to differentiate between physical and chemical changes.
GLE 0807.9.4
Distinguish among elements, compounds, and mixtures.
GLE 0807.9.6
Use the periodic table to determine the characteristics of an element.
GLE 0807.INQ.3
Synthesize information to determine cause and effect relationships between evidence and explanations.
SPI 0807.9.3
Classify common substances as elements or compounds based on their symbols or formulas.
SPI 0807.9.4
Differentiate between a mixture and a compound.
SPI 0807.9.8
Interpret the results of an investigation to determine whether a physical or chemical change has occurred.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Clear Learning Targets:

  • The students will be able to distinguish among elements, compounds, and mixtures.

Task Objectives  (steps to reach mastery of clear learning targets):

  • The students will be able to look at  different artwork and describe the  elements, compounds, and mixtures that make up the artwork.
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student Thinking:
Essential Questions:

  • What is the difference between elements, compounds, and mixtures?
  • How are the atoms in air, water, and oxygen the same and how are they different?
  • How is art related to elements, compounds, and mixtures?

Assessing questions:

  • What is the difference between an atom and a compound?
  • How is a heterogeneous mixture different from a homogeneous mixture?
  • How is the way a mixture is combined DIFFERENT from how a compound is combined?
  • What is easier to separate, a mixture or a compound? Why?
  • Which can be found on the periodic table: elements, compounds or mixtures?

Advancing questions: (Gallery Walk)

  • What can you tell about the art from the pictures?
  • What do you notice about the pose of the figure? What is this person doing?
  • What other details do you notice?
  • What kind of different elements, compounds, or mixtures can you see in the art work?
  • Do you think the artwork when left in the park will undergo any physical or chemical changes? Explain.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Differentiation suggestions: 

Scaffolding opportunities (to address learning challenges):

  • Students who are having difficulty understanding will be assigned a peer tutor to go over the main differences among elements, compounds, and mixtures.
  • Students will exposed to more examples of the three.

Opportunities to Differentiate Learning (explain how you address particular student needs by differentiating process, content, or product):

  • The reading passages can be leveled and differentiated.
  • The reading groups will be based on ability level.
  • The lab groups will be heterogeneous groups. 

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources:

  • Pictures of the Artwork (see appendix)
  • Various compounds, elements, and mixtures for the lab
  • Pennies
  • Other handouts and materials (see appendix)