Day 1 The Chemical Side of Matter

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SWBAT observe the effects of chemical changes in a chemical reaction.

Big Idea

Students will observe a chemical reaction and use temperature change to determine if heat was gained or lost.

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.

Unit Focus

The Matter and Energy unit focuses on the impact of temperature and pressure on solids, liquids, and gases. Students have multiple opportunities to develop an understanding that matter cannot not be created nor destroyed, only change. Through investigations of objects and substances, students  identify materials by their properties, states, and determine if changes made to them are physical and chemical. Additionally, investigations include identifying materials that dissolve, mix, and change form and create a new substance. Students demonstrate their understanding by developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, constructing explanations, and using mathematical and computational thinking.

Lesson Synopsis

This lesson, the Chemical Side of Matter lesson takes places of the course of two days. Day 1 of this lesson, focuses on what happens during a chemical change. Students investigate chemical reactions through a directed inquiry activity where they set up two containers, one with water and alka seltzer and the other with water, baking soda, and calcium chloride.  As the contents of each container create different reactions, students record these outcomes in a data table.  Students make predictions, observations, and draw conclusions when substances interact with one another. After completing the investigation, students reflect in writing on their experiences by using data to draw conclusions in their interactive notebook. At the end of class, I collect student notebooks to use as a formative assessment and 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. 

PS 1-4 Conduct an investigation to determine whether mixing two or more substances results in new substances.

Why do I teach with this lesson?

I teach the Chemical Side of Matter lesson over the course of two days. I use guided inquiry activities to help students develop inquiry skills as they are investigating some matter reacts and changes when combined. Many of my student have very limited background in science as the elementary school's within my district do not formally teach science prior to my students entering the 5th grade (the middle school). I find it important to provide guided inquiries that build their vocabulary and understanding of concepts in order to facilitate scientific thinking for future inquiry lessons related to the Structure and Properties of Matter. In this lesson students investigate how heat affects different states of matter by adding and removing it to specific forms of matter. By exposing and engaging students with activities to change states of matter, 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

2.) Developing and using models: Students use models to test and describe the interactions of substances and use a thermometer to accurately measure interactions.

3.) Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Student investigate how matter reacts to produce data that serves as evidence for an explanation. 

Crosscutting Concepts

The Chemical Side of Matter lesson lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

2.) Cause and Effect:  Student test relationships between substances and use their reactions to explain a reaction and/or change. They make observations and measurements to provide evidence for why energy is gained and why it is lost. 

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

To engage students in today's lesson, I begin with a demonstration using some of the materials they are interacting with during their investigation.  My intention is to build excitement in my students to participate in an investigation on chemical reactions.

First, I pour baking soda in a container. Then I add vinegar. While these materials are reacting, I am observing students reaction. I note many students have an astonished look on their faces. I ask students to create a word splash of words that come to their mind as they observe this reaction.

word splash

After the reaction, I ask students to share out what they notice.  Their responses include: bubbling, fizzing, and reacting. I tell them they can add other words to their splash that someone shares.  Allowing them to add more words helps build their vocabulary on chemical reactions.

Most of their responses indicate they have some background with words associated when substances combine. Many of these words they have written will be seen in this lesson and other lessons in this unit.


35 minutes

I begin by asking students to think about the relationship between heat and temperature. I want them to recall past activities where they have noted changes in matter when heat increased and decreased.  Then I call on a few students to share responses and I note them on the board for all to view.

Preparing to Investigate

After noting ideas, I hand out a task card and a data table and instruct students to paste them in their interactive notebook. Noting that everyone set up their notebook, I move students' attention to the standards board and call on one student to read it aloud:

"Today we will conduct an investigation to observe what happens during a chemical reaction and examine the changes that occur during it."

After reading it out loud, I bring their attention to the materials on each groups tray: 2 cups, room temperature water, a graduated cylinder, thermometer, 3 Alka Seltzer tablets, baking soda, and calcium chloride. I use these objects because when they combine, they produce a chemical reaction and a temperature change. 

I tell them they are working with their group as lab rats and instruct the materials manager to retrieve a tray for their group.  Once all groups have materials, I guide them to task card  procedure.  We review the directions for cup A and I ask students to write a prediction about what happens when they combine the water and Alka-Seltzer.  I ask a few students to share predictions.  Their predictions indicate that they expect reactions to occur.

Guided Inquiry

At this point, I let the lab rats' director get his or her group started with continuing the task for cup A. I remind all my students they are recording temperatures in the data table and recording observations in their interactive notebook.  They repeat this process for cup B , where they are combining water, baking soda, and calcium chloride. They begin with writing a prediction, then perform the task, and observe. Students continue by writing observations on the data table in their interactive notebook about the chemical reaction in Cup B. 

As groups are working, I am circulating around the room checking in with groups and monitoring students participation throughout the procedure.

Evaluate/Exit Day 1

15 minutes

Examining Data to Draw a Conclusion.

Once my students have followed through the procedure, I reconvene the class as a whole to have a guided discussion based on the data they have collected. I ask students to examine their data recorded in the table and lead them into a class discussion about what happens during a chemical reaction:

  • Why do you think you have to wait for a minute before recording the temperature?
  • What happened during the reaction?  Did the temperature increase or decrease?
  • Which cup produced an energy gain and explain why you think it happened in this cup, but not the other.    

I am looking for students to note how matter changes in a chemical reaction.  I want them to conclude that chemical reactions produce heat which causes the substances to bond or stick together and change into a new substance. They note that as the temperature increases the particles begin to move quickly and become a new substance. This result is an irreversible change.  By having students measure the temperature of the changes, they can determine if energy is gained or lost during a chemical reaction and how this facilitates a chemical reaction.

Applying Data to Conclude

After we discuss our observations, I post the question: Which reaction showed energy was lost? I ask students to write a response in their (interactive notebook) using evidence from their data and observations. I use their responses as a formative assessment to determine students understanding of the inquiry and/or identify students that need further review.