Maitland Area School

Maitland | Yorke Peninsula | South Australia

Our Year 7/8 class have spent their Science lessons this term learning about compounds, mixtures and solutions. As a ‘Grand Finale ’practical assessment task, they took part in The Laboratory Challenge – a team competition which tested their laboratory skills. 


Each team of students was given a beaker which contained 20 grams of iron filings, 20 grams of sand and 20 grams of salt. The challenge was to separate the mixture into its three component parts, whilst losing as little matter as possible.

Group work rules

Our groups showed great skill in the laboratory, first using the magnetic separation technique to extract the iron, then adding water to the mixture and filtering out the sand and finally, evaporating the water to recover the salt.

Safety in the laboratory was always top of the agenda and contributed to the overall assessment for each team. The total error achieved by the teams when they weighed their final products ranged from minimal to over 23 grams.

Final results

In the end, the results were very impressive, with Emma Rowe and Joylene Wanganeen taking first place in the competition with a total error of only 1.58 grams, followed by the team of Oscar Moore, Eddie Sansbury and Lochlan Trevena in second place with a total error of 2.29 grams. 

Congratulations to all the students for showing great teamwork and skill in the laboratory. They are now working on their final task for the term – a home project – designing a rubbish purification system. We look forward to displaying the models and photos in the classroom when they are completed in week 11. 


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