(Day 2) Air Really Does Matter

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SWBAT write a claim statement with evidence that air is a form of matter.

Big Idea

Students apply their understanding of how air is matter by designing (or redesigning) a product that incorporates air as its main feature.

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 Air Really Does Matter is the second part of the lesson on air really is matter. In the previous lesson, students investigated different ways air is considered matter, and today, students are applying their understanding by designing a model or product that uses air for its function.  Additionally, they are using their data analysis from yesterday to write a claim and evidence statement. I collect this assignment to check for student understanding on why really is a form of matter.

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 design or redesign a product that uses air as its purpose and function in the real world. It is used to describe and explain how air is a form of matter.

6.) Constructing Explanations: Students construct an explanation that air is a form of matter. They write a claim statement that includes evidence from their experiences in yesterday's stations on air. The evidence is used to support their air is matter claim and to develop a quality scientific explanation.

8.) Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information:  Students communicate their information about their design or redesign of a product by writing how their product works, explain how air is part of the product, and who they recommend the product to in the real world. 

Crosscutting Concepts

The Day 2 Air Really Does Matter lesson will correlate to other interdisciplinary areas.  These Crosscutting Concepts include:

6.) Structure and Function: Students apply and design a structure that uses air for its function. Students conclude how air functions as matter.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Disciplinary Core Ideas within this lesson include:

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



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.


10 minutes

Today I re-engage students into the next phase of Air Really Does Matter by reviewing some responses from the reflection questions 

  • Why is it important to know about moving air? 
  • Why is it important to know about air taking up space? 
  • How can air help do work?  
  • Why do you think studying the mass of air help scientists?
  • Why does knowing that air can apply pressure matter? 


assigned as homework to evaluate their understanding about air as matter.

I select volunteers to read out loud. While each one is being read, I ask students to acknowledge if 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.

By reviewing student reflection responses, I am re-engaging them and setting them up to apply the properties of air to create or design a model using air in the real world.


10 minutes

I instruct students to take out their interactive notebook and open up to their data table from yesterday's stations activities.  I explain we are looking over our observations from each station to determine and summarize what air can do and how it is a form of matter.

We discuss each station one at a time.  I tell the students, "As we discuss and share what air can do, we are webbing out these ideas.  You can be as creative with your web as you would like as long as you include information from our discussion and write the information related to what air can do.

Our discussion focuses on observations, conclusions, and evidence from the data table to determine what air can do and how it really is a form of matter.  As we share evidence from our data table notes I write the information on the board and students use it to create their webs in their interactive notebook.


30 minutes

Real World Application

At this point in the lesson, I explain how people use air in many ways and there are products that use air too. We brainstorm ideas that include swim arm floaties, air conditioners, airplanes, air mattresses, tires for cars and bikes. I share with them they are taking what they discovered about air from the stations yesterday, and designing or drawing a model of a product that uses air.  I tell them they can redesign a current object we already use or invent one of their own. 

I continue explaining that they are using the information about air they learned from stations, reflections, and notes about air as matter to design or reinvent their product. They use the 'picture it' graphic organizer design.

After discussing and taking questions, I give the students seat choice, allowing them to find a spot in the room to help them focus and be on task.  While students are working, I am walking around the room, monitoring their work habits, and clarifying any questions that arise or if I notice inaccuracies in their designs or models.  Students work for the remainder of the class time. 

Throughout this assignment, I noticed many students engaging in creative thinking. Here are some example designs from my students: the Zen Case, Air Bumper, Safe Trampoline, Phone Bubble Case, and Cereal Dispenser.


15 minutes

I ask students to keep their what air can do web and data table on their desk and I hand out a claims and evidence graphic organizer to each student. I select this graphic organizer for students so they can generate a well structured explanation as to why air is matter.  By incorporating evidence from their experience in stations from the previous day, students learn to develop quality explanations.

I tell students to review their interactive notebook data table and word web.  Using the claims and evidence graphic organizer, I instruct students to to write a claim stating that air is matter.  They write a claim statement using the following sentence frame:  "I claim air ________.  Following the claim statement, I tell students their claim must be supported with evidence and tell them to use a sentence frame: "The evidence I have to support my claim is (use observations and conclusions to help write an explanation to the claim.") 

As students are writing claim statements, I am walking around monitoring groups. I am looking at student observations and descriptions on his or her graphic organizer. In addition, I am observing claim statement written and look to see if written evidence accurately supports the claim. If it does not, I stop and redirect students to their data table observations and guide them into rethinking about what air can do and how we discussed it is a form of matter.

I collect their statements and use as a formative assessment to identify students understanding about air as a form of matter.