What Does Temperature Have to Do With Matter?

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SWBAT accurately use a thermometer to measure how hot or cold a form of matter is.

Big Idea

Students will plot temperatures on a graph and identify variables that can affect the reading on a thermometer.

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 What Does Temperature Have to Do With It? lesson begins with students activating their prior knowledge on ways matter changes state by taking part in the Give One, Get One Strategy. Students share ideas with each other and build a list of the various ways.  The lesson continues with an interactive reading passage about temperatures and the use of thermometers. Students practice measuring the temperature of various items. We continue reading and enter a discussion about the processes that change water's state from one form to another and create a verbal and visual word association for our key terms. At the end of class, students answer an exit ticket, which I use as a formative assessment to check for student understanding.

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. 

Scientific & Engineering Practices

Students are engaged in the following Scientific and Engineering Practices

2.) Developing and using models: Students use a thermometer to accurately measure containers of water with different temperatures.

3.) Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Student make observations and measurements of various water temperatures to produce data to use as evidence when explaining varied data results

4.) Constructing Explanations and Design Solutions: Students compose an evidence based explanation using the class data on water temperatures to identify causes the data to be varied.


Crosscutting Concepts

The What Does Temperature Have to Do With It? lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

2.) Cause and Effect:  Students identify temperatures and processes that explain why water changes from one form to another.

6.) Structure and Function: Students learn that temperature have different effects on structures of matter which determine properties and define functions.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:

PS1.A Structure 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.  A model showing that gases are made from the matter of particles that are too small to see and are moving freely around in space can explain many observations.


Classroom Management

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.


For time management purposes, I use “lab rats roles” I introduce these roles this at the beginning of the year. I model each role and provide students' opportunities to practice each role with a group during an investigation or lab.  It has proven successful within my classroom keeping students engaged and on task.

Each student has a number on the back of his or her chair, 1,2,3,4 (students sit in groups of 4)and displayed on the board.  For each explore activity, I switch up the roles randomly so students are experiencing different task responsibilities which include: Director, Materials Manager, Reporter, and Technician.  It makes for smooth transitions and efficiency for set up, work, and clean-up. 



10 minutes

I introduce today's lesson by bringing student's attention the board where the question "How do states of matter change? is displayed.  I  read this question out loud and look for students reactions or expressions. I note some hands are raised but I am not looking for an answer at the moment. I tell students they are going share their answer shortly.

I explain, "we are using the Give One, Get One strategy today to share our ideas."  I hand out a grid to each student. I continue stating, "when we begin, you are writing three ideas or answers of your own to this question in the top row. Then, you are walking around the room finding other ideas. You need to get more ideas or answers (each idea coming from a different person) until each box is filled.  At the same time, you need to give one of your ideas to another classmate (a classmate can only take one idea from you.)   As students begin, I walk around the room monitoring students as they move about the room asking the other students for one of their ideas. At the same time they give one of theirs. This is done until all boxes are filled.

I selected the Give One, Get One strategy to activate students' prior knowledge and engage them in structured and meaningful conversation with a classmate.  This strategy engages students in meaningful and productive discourse with peers.

The class reconvenes as a whole and each group shares one item by taking part in a word splash. After one member from a group shares, they pass the marker to another group member, this process is repeated until each group member has written an idea on the board. By the end of the shares, a class list is created on the board for all to view.



25 minutes

Through our Give one, Get one strategy discussion, we determine that heat is the main cause for changing the states of matter. I pose the question, "how can we find out the temperature of something?"  Many hands go up and a volunteer shares, "a thermometer."  With that, I explain it is important to read temperatures accurately, therefore we will be practicing by examining the parts of a thermometer and measuring the temperature of different items.

I hand out the exploring temperature changes packet.  I start off by asking a volunteer to read page 1 about temperatures and thermometers.  We highlight some main ideas about thermometers and temperatures as we read aloud. I stop along the way, asking them to think of personal experiences they have had with thermometers and measuring temperature.  In addition, I show a computer model displaying how mercury or other liquid moves when heated and cooled. I can vary the temperatures so students distinguish the differences.

Once we complete our read aloud, I hand out thermometers to each students.  We notice the different scales displayed on each side, Celsius and Fahrenheit, and a glass tube filled with mercury. I ask a student to remind us of the details we highlighted in the reading about what happens to the mercury when heat is added and removed. After noting heat causes the mercury to expand and rise, and cold causes the mercury to contract and shrink, I direct them to the bottom of the page 1 to review the directions of their task. I say, "You are using your thermometer to practice measuring the temperatures of the following areas: your hand, one area of the room, and outside."  I selected these items because each area provides a distinct reading of the temperature and students can actually see the mercury move. Each temperature is recorded on the thermometer displayed on page 1 and written in the Celsius and Fahrenheit form.

After we practice taking temperatures accurately, I direct students to page 2 of their packet. Here I explain they are working as lab rates to take the temperature of three different waters: cold, warm, and hot. (I add ice to make the water cold, left water out to become room temperature for warm, and heated water slightly using a teapot for hot water. I caution students about this and discuss safety rules with them) I ask them to create a data table like the one in the packet to record their temperature readings. With directions understood, the students begin.

While they are measuring and recording different temperatures, I walk around and monitor groups. I check in with and ask them how the mercury changed as they measured the temperature of each water. At the end of the task, I redirect students to their seats to review important vocabulary terms relevant to task.





20 minutes

After wrapping up our data from measuring water of different temperatures, I direct students to part 3 in our packet. We read this together and identify key processes and certain temperatures that change water from one form to another. These temperatures include: boiling point, melting point, and freezing point.

I hand out a verbal and visual word association graphic organizer and I explain to students we are constructing definitions about each term based on the reading in the entire packet.  Then, they are creating illustrations and making personal connections with each term.

I selected this particular graphic organizer because is effective for a variety of learners including English language learners and special education students, as they develop an understanding of key words and concepts.

While students are creating visual representations and personal connections, I am walking around to monitor students.  They continue working with vocabulary terms until the graphic organizer is complete.


15 minutes

Once we define our key terms, I hand out a graph and ask students to plot data from their water temperature data table created in their interactive notebook. Then, I display a similar but enlarged graph at the front of the room where I am recording each group's data and eventually become a class graph.  I also have students record other group's temperature

I direct each group's lab rats reporter to share their data with the class.  As each student shares their group's data on cold, warm, and hot water, I plot this data on the enlarged class graph.  After all groups have shared, I ask students to analyze the information carefully using these questions to discuss with their group members.

  • What do you notice about the data on the graph?
  • Are the temperature readings all the same?  
  • Why do you think the readings vary?


After some time with their groups, I reconvene everyone as a whole class and guide them through a discussion about their analysis.  While they are not formally familiar with the term variable, I bring it up while they are sharing reasons to explain why data varies from group to group. I say, "A variable is something that can vary or change during an investigation." and ask, "What would be some variables within our investigation?"  I listen to students share their thoughts and create a list on the board of possibilities.



15 minutes

After graphing our class class data, I ask students to fill out the exit ticket on processes that change water from one form of matter to another.  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.