(Day 1)-Preview Vocabulary-Matter and Its Properties

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SWBAT distinguish among properties that are used to classify matter.

Big Idea

Students will determine which properties of matter are observable and measurable .

Lesson Overview

5e Lesson Plan Model

Many of my science lessons are based upon and taught using the 5E lesson plan model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This lesson plan model allows me to incorporate a variety of learning opportunities and strategies for students.  With multiple learning experiences, students can gain new ideas, demonstrate thinking, draw conclusions, develop critical thinking skills, and interact with peers through discussions and hands-on activities.  With each stage in this lesson model, I select strategies that will serve students best for the concepts and content being delivered to them.  These strategies were selected for this lesson to facilitate peer discussions, participation in a group activity, reflective learning practices, and accountability for learning.

Lesson Synopsis

The Preview of Vocabulary- Matter and Its Properties lesson takes place over the course of two days (or two class periods.) It provides students opportunity to preview properties used to describe matter by distinguishing properties that are known, sort of known, and unknown in a word sort activity.  As a class, we define matter by creating a four square with a definition, examples, and identifying the states.  Students apply their understanding of properties used to describe matter by classifying them as measurable and observable.

Next Generation Science Standards  

This lesson will address the following NGSS Standard(s): 

PS 1.3 Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. 

I begin this unit with a lesson the gives students a preview of vocabulary related to matter because the elementary school's within my district do not formally teach science; therefore my students enter middle school (fifth grade) with a limited science background.  I find it important to provide scaffolding activities that build their vocabulary in order to facilitate scientific thinking for future lessons related to the Structure and Properties of Matter. In this lesson students identify properties that are are observable and measurable to later use when distinguishing particular materials.  By exposing and engaging students with vocabulary used within this unit, I am providing them with a foundation that will support their experiences later lessons involving structures of matter, interactions of matter, and chemical reactions of matter. 

 Scientific & Engineering Practices

Students are engaged in the following scientific and engineering Practices

8.) Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information:  Using vocabulary word sort, students to identify properties of matter. Students organize the properties into measurable and observable categories.

Crosscutting Concepts

 The Preview of Vocabulary- Matter and Its Properties lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

3. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity: Students recognize natural objects and observable matter exists from the very small to very large.  

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:

PS1.A Structure of Matter:  Measurements of variety of observable properties can be used to identify particular materials. (Because matter exists as particles that are too small to see, matter is always conserved even if it seems to disappear.) 



Importance of Modeling to Develop Student

Responsibility, Accountability, and Independence 

Depending upon the time of year, this lesson is taught, teachers should consider modeling how groups should work together; establish group norms for activities, class discussions, and partner talks.  In addition, it is important to model think aloud strategies.  This sets up students to be more expressive and develop thinking skills during an activity.  The first half of the year, I model what group work and/or talks “look like and sound like.”  I intervene the moment students are off task with reminders and redirecting.  By the second and last half of the year, I am able to ask students, “Who can give of three reminders for group activities to be successful?” Who can tell us two reminders for partner talks?”  Students take responsibility for becoming successful learners.  Again before teaching this lesson, consider the time of year, it may be necessary to do a lot of front loading to get students to eventually become more independent and transition through the lessons in a timely manner.




10 minutes

I introduce today's lesson by bringing student's attention the board where the question "What is matter?" is displayed.  I read this question out loud and look for students reactions or expressions. I note some hands are raised, and others appear hesitant to raise their hand. I add on "think about things that take up space around you" I am not looking for an answer at the moment, I'm noting students reaction as an indication of prior knowledge. I tell students they are going to discover the answer over the course of the next two days.

Then I explain, "using the 5-3-1 strategy and your interactive notebook, you are going to walk around the room silently and write down any five items or things you find taking up space. Once you find five items of your choice, you need to look over your list and decide which three you are sharing with your face to face partner. Each of you shares what you consider your best 3  on the list, and then work together to select the 1 that you are sharing to the whole class."  As students begin, I walk around the room monitoring.

I selected the 5-3-1 strategy to activate students' prior knowledge and engage them in structured and meaningful conversations with a classmate.  This strategy facilitates productive discourse with peers.

Once pairs have determined the 1 item in the room that takes up space to share, the class reconvenes as a whole to share their one item. I use the quick pick bucket to call upon each pair to share.  As one member shares, the other member writes their item on the board. By the end of the shares, a class list is created on the board for all to view.

With a list displayed on the board, I point out to students that all of these items are examples of matter because they take up space. 


15 minutes

After finding examples of matter around the room, I tell students we are examining other words relevant to matter throughout our unit. So today we are getting a sneak preview of properties used to describe matter so we are familiar with them as we investigate different kinds of matter.  The purpose of our vocabulary activity is distinguish between different properties so we accurately use them throughout our investigations.

Previewing Vocabulary Activity-Word Sort

I begin asking students what the colors green, yellow, red mean for cars in traffic.  After identifying meaning behind the colors, I ask the class how we can use those colors to organize new vocabulary words for our unit on matter.  I inform students we are using a mat with those colors for a vocabulary word sort by placing words they know on the green portion of the mat, words they might know on the yellow portion on the mat, and words they don’t know on the red portion of the mat. I selected a vocabulary word sort activity for this portion of the lesson to familiarize students with properties of matter that will be used throughout our unit.

I direct students attention to the center of the table and instruct them to take a pack of vocabulary words and 1 green, yellow, red sorting mat and begin sorting the vocabulary words according to their own knowledge about them. They place words they know on the green portion of the mat, words they might know on the yellow portion on the mat, and words they don’t know on the red portion of the mat.

Once students complete the sort, I remind them of our turn and talk norms and tell them to begin a turn and talk with their group. I inform them they are discussing similarities and differences with each other’s mats. Then I ask for student volunteers to share their analysis of words with the whole class. As they share, I note the similarities on the board.  As a whole class, we analyze and look for words everyone knows and words everyone is uncertain about.


15 minutes

At this point, I bring the class together for a whole class discussion on the properties of matter vocabulary and the items selected during their 5-3-1 activity.  I create a four square on the board and instruct students to create one in their interactive notebook.  

Defining Matter

In the top left square we write definition and I engage the students in a discussion about the word Matter. I ask them to think back to my direction in the 5-3-1 activity: Find 5 examples of matter, things that take up space.  We revisit the list of items shared by others: desk, water, chair, book, air, file cabinet; I ask, "Do all of these items take up space? We agree and use this idea, taking up space to define matter. As I write the definition: Anything that takes up space, I add on.. and has mass. Students are writing a definition in the top left four-square. We have a brief conversation about mass because this term is a word identified in our word sort that students did not know. 

Once we define mater in the interactive notebook, I ask students to write examples on the upper right corner from our 5-3-1 activity at the start of class. I tell them it is ok to add items that were shared since I want them to build their background on matter with ideas and examples.  

Then I move my students onto the properties of matter they identified.  I ask them to find three words that describe the form something could take. They respond with solid, liquid, and gas. These words are defined as the states of matter and I have students write them in the bottom left corner.  

Finally, I direct my students to the remaining box, the bottom right corner. I ask them to reexamine the properties from our vocabulary sort and have them select a variety of properties to write in this section.  I suggest to them, "Select a mixture of properties, some you were familiar with and a few you were not. The more we apply them, the easier it is to remember them."  



Reflect Day 1

10 minutes

After creating a four-square about matter, I ask students to fill out the exit ticket on the properties of matter, determining which properties are observable and measurable. I use this exit ticket as a formative assessment to identify areas students are struggling with, understanding, and / or misconceptions.  I tell the students to place the exit ticket in the bucket on the way out to their next class.

As I review student responses I notice many students accurately organize properties under the appropriate headings.  Although, students took part identifying properties of matter today, I believe my students did well with this ticket for two reasons. One, throughout the year, I engage them in using the term properties through classes and investigations.  From the start of the school year, I introduce them to the term properties as well as observations. I do a lot of front loading at the start of the year as we become familiar with science practices. In addition, I work closely with my math teacher and she had eluded to the fact that my students have been exposed to words like volume, length, width, height. Being familiar with these terms, helped them successfully arrange them on the ticket.