(Day 2) Exploring Matter and Its Properties

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SWBAT identify materials based on their properties.

Big Idea

Students explore properties of matter by observing, testing, and measuring a variety of materials.

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 day 2 Exploring- Matter and Its Properties lesson is the continuation of yesterday's lesson on the properties of matter. It provides students opportunity to explore the properties of matter they previewed yesterday by rotating through stations and testing out different properties. At each station, they record their findings on a data table which they analyze and use the information to write what they have noticed and what they have learned. I wrap this lesson up with a 3-2-1 exit ticket. Students write three things they learned during the stations, two things they found interesting and one question they still had.  I use this ticket as a formative assessment and compile the questions written to analyze and determine areas of focus in upcoming lessons.

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 explore the properties of matter to later use when distinguishing particular materials in future lessons.  By exposing and engaging students with some of the properties of matter used within this unit, I am providing them with a foundation that will support their experiences in 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

3.) Planning and Carrying Out Investigations:  Students make observations and/or measurements of materials at five different stations to produce data to use as evidence to communicate what they have learned.

4.)  Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Represent data in tables and/or various graphical displays (bar graphs, pictographs and/or pie charts) to reveal patterns that indicate relationships

8.) Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information:  Using data from investigating properties of matter at different stations, students write an analysis of what they noticed and learned from from about the data they collected.

Crosscutting Concepts

The Day 2 Exploring 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.  

4.)  Structure and Function: Students learn different materials have different structures which can be observed or measured. Throughout each station, students explore materials and their parts that support their functions.

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.


5 minutes

Today I re-engage students into the next phase of the lesson of the Properties of Matter by reviewing the responses of the exit ticket they completed before leaving class.  I select a handful of student responses to read out loud. While I read, I ask students to acknowledge if the the information they hear is accurate by giving a thumbs up.  By asking them to acknowledge the information shared, I make sure others are active listeners.

I noticed students correctly arranged properties under the headings observable and measureable indicating they understand and/or are familiar with these terms.


35 minutes

After reviewing the properties of matter terms from yesterday, I instruct students to the center of the table to take the stations lab sheet. Noting that everyone has a lab sheet, I move students' attention to the standards board and call on one students to read it aloud:

"Today you will examine five properties of matter by rotating through five stations and constructing an explanation on what you noticed and learned at each one ." Then, I bring their attention to the five stations set up around the room: Sink or Float, Measuring Matter, Magnetic Matter, Observing Matter, and The Durability of Matter and tell them they are working with their group at each station.

I begin at the Sink or Float station, I explain that each student is going first predict if an object will sink or float. Then, they are testing the item by placing it in the water, observing and recording what happens on the lab sheet and writing if the object sinks or floats. If it floats, they are using the term buoyant.  I move their attention to the next station: Measuring Matter where they are using scales, measuring tapes, and rulers to measure matter and record their data on the stations lab sheet. At the next station, Magnetic Matter, I share with students that they are using magnets to see matter has magnetic properties. They are testing a variety of objects made of different materials to determine if they are magnetic or nonmagnetic and writing their findings on the data table. I continue explaining as I direct students to the Observing Matter station. While at this station, students are looking, feeling, smelling, and squeezing each item and recording their findings in the data table on their stations recording sheet. I make my way to the last station, The Durability of Matter and point out to students they are testing the durability and flexibility of each object and recording findings in the data table within the stations lab packet. 

Using numbers on the back of their chairs: 1,2,3,4, I assign all the 1's to Sink or Float, the 2's to Measuring Matterthe 3's to Magnetic Matter, the 4's to Observing Matter, and the 5's to the Durability of Matter station. I direct students report to the station with the corresponding chair number. This is how I transition them to a starting station.

Students follow the directions at each station and continue rotating through each one, exploring each property of matter until all station are completed.  I continue moving throughout the room and checking in at different stations. At the end of our investigation, I direct students to return to their seat for a discussion and explanation.


15 minutes

Analyzing the Data

After completing the tasks at each station, I direct students to the analyze data directions under each data table. I review the directions out loud with the students, making sure the task is understood.  I point out the sentence starters on each section and remind them to use them as they communicate their understanding about the data from each station. Using the sentence starters helps students, especially English Language Learners and special education students, have a starting place for forming their thoughts. In addition, sentence starters are good for developing good writing skills.

Once analysis are complete, I call on students to share their written responses.  I listen for students understanding of the properties: durabilitymeasurementsobservationbuoyancy, and magnetism of matter, now that they explored these at different stations.  

I collect written statements and use as a formative assessment.

Exit Ticket

5 minutes

Before ending class,  I ask students to fill out a 3-2-1 exit ticket.  As I hand them out, I explain the task is to write details according to the number in each box 3-things learned today, 2- things found interesting and 1-question you still have about matter.  

I use this exit ticket to monitor student progress and as a formative assessment.  It provides me with feedback on students’ learning experience from that day’s lesson/activity. In addition, it identifies areas students are struggling with and/ or misconceptions.  

I tell the students to place the exit ticket in the bucket on the way out to their next class.