Observable Properties

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Students will be able to identify observable properties and explain how certain actions can affect the materials.

Big Idea

Students will be able to identify observable properties of classroom objects.

Warm Up

10 minutes

I will begin the lesson by leading a discussion on what it means to observe. I want to activate students' background knowledge to help prepare them for the lesson on observable properties. As a class, we will discuss the five senses and how they each are a factor in a scientist's observations. We will particularly focus on the sense of vision.

Next, I will ask the students to use their background knowledge and what they already know about observations, to make an inference about what an observable property is. I will have students think, pair, share with an elbow partner to determine their predictions. 

Before providing students with the correct definition of what an observable property is, I am going to hold up a piece of printer paper. I am going to inform the students that I have already noted the observable properties of this paper. I will share with the students the observable properties, such as: white, smooth, rectangular, and 8.5 x 11. Now that I have given the students an example of observable properties, I will ask the students to share their ideas once again about observable properties and what they believe they are. I will confirm with students the actual definition of observable properties; which are characteristics of an object that can be seen, smelled, or felt. However, as a reminder, I will state that we will be focusing on the visuals.


25 minutes

Now that we have identified the observable properties of the piece of paper, our next goal is to determine how we can change the observable properties. I will ask the students their thoughts and suggestions. What are some possible actions that I can take to change the observable properties (color the paper, tear the paper, fold the paper, crumple the paper, etc). I will ask the students if there are any tools that I can use to change the physical properties of the paper. I will explain to the students, that sometimes as scientists we need to change the observable properties of different objects. I will lead a discussion about why a scientist needs to change the observable properties of an object. I will provide time for students to share their ideas.

I will explain to students that they will now work in pairs to identify observable properties and select actions and reasons as to why a scientist may want to change it. 

Each pair will receive a different item. They will choose from a pencil, clay, a cotton cloth, a plastic spoon, a metal paper clip, and a crayon. They will also receive a recording sheet to note their observable properties and changes. I will review the recording sheet with the students. I will explain that the material that they chose must be written at the top of the sheet. In the first column, the students will list all of the observable properties of the object. The action that can be taken to change the material will go in column two. The possible reasons why the changes might be made, will be recorded in column three. Students will be provided time to complete the task. 

Wrap Up

10 minutes

Students will be given the opportunity to share their observations and ideas to conclude the lesson. Doing so allows students to demonstrate students' ability to analyze data, as mentioned within the Explore section in order to address a question of interest.