Lesson 16

Changing Matter: Mrs. Parker States Her Case

23 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT construct a simple model that describes the Kinetic Theory of Matter.

Big Idea

How do particles move in different states of matter? Students get to meet Plaid Pete's Mom, as they dive into an investigation into The Kinetic Theory of Matter.

Setting Up the Investigation

Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards

In this investigation, students explore the  Disciplinary Core Idea of Structure and Properties of Matter - Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, but even then the matter still exists and can be detected by other means (5-PS1-A); and use the Crosscutting Concept of Cause and Effect -  Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change (5-PS1-1), Scale, Proportion, and Quantity - Standard units are used to measure and describe physical quantities such as weight, time, temperature, and volume (5-PS1-1) and Energy and Matter - energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects (5-PS3-1).

Please Note:  The Lexile Level for What's The Matter Plaid Pete? - Lab Scenario Sheet Lesson 15 is 790 (5th Grade Range is 740 - 1010).

The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 10 minutes.

Materials Needed:

Glass Beaker, suitable for use with a hot plate

Thermometer that can be used with boiling water

Hot Plate

Small Cooler

Ice Cubes


Electrical Outlet

Copies for each student of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Lab Scenario Lesson 16

Copies for each student of What's The Matter Plaid Pete? Lab Sheet - Lesson 16

1 set of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Word Wall Cards Lesson 16

1 paper copy for each student of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Word Wall Cards Lesson 16

Copies for each student of Plaid Pete is Perplexed - Lesson 16 Check-Up

Copies for each student of Lesson 16 Vocabulary Review

1 copy of Lesson 16 Vocabulary Review - Answer Key


Focus & Motivation

10 minutes

Introduce the Scenario

I gather my scientists together and tell them that this time, we find out Plaid Pete's last name (Parker), and we get to meet his mom, who happens to be interested in Science, as well.  I hand out copies of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Lab Scenario Lesson 16 to each student. 

My students have really enjoyed using a Reader's theater approach to these scenarios, so I have prepared three copies as scripts for Plaid Pete, Mrs. Parker, and a Narrator.  I am now having to keep track of who has a turn at reading the parts because my students are becoming so engaged that they vie for the opportunity.

I am also loving the fact that Reader's Theater is allowing me to integrate some of our literacy lessons.  In this Video Clip I am discussing the lab scenario with a student who had difficulty figuring out which character was speaking.  We had recently had a mini-lesson in writer's workshop about using indentation to indicate that a new character was speaking.  This student is now transferring this learning to a new context.

Share Lesson Objective & Success Criteria

After my students have read the scenario in their teams, I share the learning objective and success criteria with my students:  

Note:  Consistent with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, I am now includinga language objective with each lesson.  These objectives were derived from the Washington State ELP Standards Frameworks that are correlated with the CCSS and the NGSS.

Learning Objective:  I can identify the melting, boiling, and freezing point of a liquid, and describe what happens at the particle level to cause matter to change from one state to another.

Language Objective:  I can identify a simple main idea from an oral presentation.  [ELP.4-5.1]

Success Criteria:  I can correctly identify the melting, boiling and freezing point of a liquid on my lab sheet, and can draw a model to describe how particles change when matter moves from one state to another.

I tell my students, "It looks like Plaid Pete is going to have the opportunity to teach his Mom something about Science today.  How many of you will go home and tell your parents what you have learned?"  I do all I can to strengthen the Home-School connection, and get my students to talk about what they are learning.  I know that increasing the amount of language they use will be reflected in increased academic achievement.  

Explain Lab Sheet

Before I call my students back to the table for the Guided Exploration, I pass out a copy of What's The Matter Plaid Pete? Lab Sheet - Lesson 16 to each student.  We discuss the thermometer on the lab sheet, and the two scales (Celsius and Fahrenheit).  I explain that Scientists use the metric, or Celsius scale, however; I would like them to have an understanding of the Fahrenheit scale.  I tell them that they will be recording the temperatures of water today when it reaches some specific points.  I model for them how they will draw a line on the thermometer to record a temperature, using my document camera.  I ask them to bring their clip boards, and a pencil with them when I call them back to the table.  

Guided Exploration

15 minutes

Introduce the Observation

I explain to my students that today, they will need to use their scientists observation skills to pay very close attention.  First though, I explain that since we will be dealing with a hot plate and boiling water, I have some safety rules that I would like them to observe.  I have gathered my students around the back table, on which I have placed a hot plate.  I have a number of students who are a bit impulsive, so I have determined that we will have assigned seating.  Some of my students will be seated in chairs, in a horseshoe around the table, with my more impulsive students behind the chairs.  I point to a chart on which I have written the following rules:

  • No Pushing or Shoving
  • Don't Touch The Table
  • If You Need to See Something, Ask and I Will Show You


I explain that students who do not follow the rules, will be dismissed from the activity.  

Begin the Observation

I begin the observation by taking ice from the small ice chest and placing it in the beaker that I have put on the hot plate.  I place the thermometer inside the beaker and wait for a minute or two for the thermometer to set.  I pull out the thermometer and call out the temperature (0 degrees Celsius, 32 degrees Fahrenheit), asking students to draw a line to record the temperature.  I ask them to label this freezing point (click for picture).  I tell students they should also label this the melting point.  I explain that the point at which water just begins to freeze is also the point at which it was a liquid.  I point to a piece of paper on which I have drawn a line and written melting point on one side of the line and freezing point on the other.  This may be a difficult concept for some students, and is actually a simplistic description, but sufficient at this grade level.

I turn the hot plate on, and begin to heat the water.  I heat it to the boiling point (100 degrees Celsius, 212 degrees Fahrenheit).  I call out the temperature to my students, asking them to mark it on their thermometers, and label it as the boiling point (click for picture).  I point out the water vapor that is now escaping from the beaker.  I explain that this is called evaporation - the process of water turning from a liquid to a gas and escaping into the air.

This is a completed student thermometer

I say, "Now that we have observed water change into three different states, or phases - let's find out what is happening at a particle level to make this occur."  I dismiss my scientists and ask them to return to their desks.


25 minutes

Introduction to the Kinetic Theory of Matter

Once my scientists are seated, I tell them that they are going to learn about a very important concept today that explains how matter can change state.  I tell them that this is called "The Kinetic Theory of Matter."  I define the word kinetic - which means motion, or movement.  

I say, "So then, this is a theory that scientists have about the way the particles in matter move."    I project the digital book Kitty's Morning Tea and read it to my students as a read aloud.  (This is a wonderful book, and if it ever gets printed - I am rushing out to buy it!)

Connect to Prior Knowledge

I ask my scientists to turn to the next clean page in their Science Notebooks, because we need to review some concepts, and then add on this new information so that we can make sense of it.  I ask them to write, The Kinetic Theory of Matter at the top of the page, along with today's date.   I ask them to think back on our lessons so far, and then ask for a volunteer to tell me what all matter is composed of.  I call on a student and confirm that yes, all matter is composed of particles.  I write in my notebook, and ask students to copy in their notebooks:

1.  All matter is composed of particles that are too small to be seen.

I ask my students to remember about what they learned about the arrangement of particles in solids, liquids, and gases from our our previous two lessons on Plaid Pete's Particles. I ask them to think about what cause these states of matter to have their own specific properties.  I say, "For example, how are particles arranged in a solid in such a way that makes a solid have a definite shape and volume?  And how are particles arranged in a liquid, so that a liquid flows, or in a gas, so that it takes up the space of the closed container that it is in?"  

I give them a moment of think time, and then ask them to turn and tell their partner what they remember.  I accept answers, and question until I elicit the information that in all states of matter the particles move.  I call for volunteers and then add the following notes:

2.  All particles are in constant motion.

In a solid, the particles are close together.  The particles vibrate, but do not move around, which causes solids to have a rigid or stiff shape.  

In a liquid, the particles are a little farther apart.  These particles move around and slide past each other, which causes liquids to flow. 

In a gas, the particles are very far apart, they move very fast and bump into one another.

 I ask my students to remember back when we learned about the particles in solids, and why a solid was a solid - I ask, "Why do the particles in solids stay so tightly together?"  I call on a volunteer and confirm that yes, they are held together by forces.  I write the next note and instruct my students to copy:

3.  The particles in matter are held together by strong forces.

Play Video

I tell my students that there is one more note - one more piece to this theory, and that I want them to watch a short video that, along with Kitty's Morning Tea will help explain it.  I play Scholastic Study Jams:  Solids, Liquids, Gases.

After I play the video, I ask my students, "When you are out on the playground running around playing tag or soccer, what happens to your skin if you touch it?"  A student correctly responds that it gets hot.  So, I say, "When you move you produce heat.  When the particles in matter move, what do they do?"  I call on a student who correctly responds that they also produce heat.  I write.

4. Because the particles in matter are in constant motion, they have kinetic energy (motion energy).   When you heat matter (transfer energy to matter), it absorbs the energy and the molecules move faster.  The matter changes state, from a solid, to a liquid, then to a gas.  When you remove heat from matter (transfer energy away from matter) or cool it, the molecules move slower.  The matter again changes state, from a gas, to a liquid, to a solid.  

5.  State changes are the result of molecules either moving faster or slowing down.

I ask for a volunteer to summarize what we have written - what is "The Kinetic Theory of Matter?"  After an accurate summary has been provided I ask my students to turn to the person next to them and explain what is meant by the Kinetic Theory of Matter. I tell them I will give them a a few minutes, and then call for them to switch partners.  I know that it is critical they have this opportunity to discuss this new idea.  

This is a difficult concept for my students.  They have little background knowledge for this concept, so I ask, "Class, when scientists are trying to explain something that is complex and too small to see, what do they do?"  One student correctly responds, "Use a model."  So I go to the whiteboard and with students guiding me, I construct a model of what is happening.  Students copy this model of energy transfers into their Science Notebooks.

I tell my students that it's time to get read for some new vocabulary.

Vocabulary Instruction

10 minutes

Introduce Lesson Vocabulary

Consistent with the 5E Model of Instruction - The majority of vocabulary instruction in my classroom occurs during the "Explain" or instructional stage.  This ensures that students have the experiential activities that will allow them to connect new vocabulary terms to conceptual understanding.

I present the words from the What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Word Wall Cards Lesson 16 using the same instructional routine that I have previously used with my students.  

  1. Say the word to students.
  2. Ask students to repeat the word at least 5 times.  For example, I will say, "Say it to the window.  Say it to my hand.  Say it to the door.  Say it to the ceiling."
  3. I say the word in context.  For example, I will say, " The position the plants were placed in was one of the controlled variables in the video."  
  4. I will then randomly call on a student to use the word in a sentence, giving successive prompts to assist them, if needed.


Science Notebook

After introducing the words, I demonstrate for students how to make a three column table with rows for each of the eight vocabulary words.  I model for them in my own Science Notebook how to write the word in the first box, a non-linguistic (e.g. picture) representation of the word in the second box, and work with the class to generate an example sentence for the first word in the third box.  

Students cut out their copies of the word cards, place them in an envelope, and glue the envelope to the back of the page on which they have constructed their columns.  They will use these word cards to play concentration, or password with a partner, and to take home to study.  They will finish sentences for the remaining seven words either for homework, or for seat-work later.  

A completed student notebook will look like this Example 1.

A day or two after this lesson, I give students the Copy of Lesson 16 Vocabulary Review Sheet to complete for homework.  I use the Copy of Lesson 16 Vocabulary Review - Answer Key to check their work.

Reflection & Closure

5 minutes

Mystery Solved!

I say, "Wow, we have learned a lot about the kinetic theory of matter - but we still don't know who left the refrigerator door open, do we?  It just so happens that I have some information here that just might help us solve this mystery!"  I project the I Wonder Who Left The Refrigerator Open Storyboard.  Of course, there are all kinds of comments about "A dog couldn't do that!"  And I say, "You just never know - dachshunds are amazing animals!"

Lesson Check-Up

I tell my students to take their Science Notebooks home and study their notes for our lessons on matter (Lessons 12-15).  I tell them that tomorrow morning when they come in, we will have a Lesson Check-Up for their Do Now.  

I always have a Do Now task for my students to complete when they first come in each morning.  The Plaid Pete is Perplexed - Lesson 16 Check-Up will be on their desks tomorrow morning when they first come in.  I will have students complete the check up and place it in the IN Basket.  I will make comments on their sheet, as well as use it to pull small groups to reteach students who do not demonstrate understanding of the concepts I have presented thus far.

In this Lesson 16 Check-Up Screencast, I discuss one student example.