We're Going on a Paper Hunt!

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SWBAT identify different types of paper by locating objects made from paper around the room.

Big Idea

Kids will learn that paper comes in different forms, thickness and uses.


10 minutes

I call the kids to the carpet one table at a time.

I ask them to look around the room with their eyes to find things made out of paper. They are instructed to find as many as they can in one minute and to remember them in their brains. They are then asked to turn to their floor partner to tell them all the things they remember seeing made out of paper. Each partner gets 30 timed second to share what they found with their eyes.

I then ask kids to volunteer things that they and their partners saw made out of paper. I record the list on chart paper as they share. We will use the list later in the lesson.

I do this to get the kids to think about paper and the different forms paper can take and how it can be found almost anywhere.


10 minutes

The exploration takes the form of the kids investigating the properties of different types of wood and paper. I include the wood to purposely link this lesson to prior knowledge gained in the wood unit. We investigate the following:

  • chip board
  • construction paper
  • oak wood
  • brown kraft paper
  • paper towel
  • balsa wood
  • corrugated cardboard
  • wax paper
  • pine

I prepare a baggie with one of each type of wood and paper for each student the day before the lesson is taught.

This exploration is guided, so I just tell the kids that we are going to explore different types of wood and paper paper using a pen, marker, pencil and water. I prepare these items in a small tub the day before the lesson is taught. There is one tub per table and four kids per table so I put four baggies of paper samples, four pencils, four markers, four crayons, and two eye droppers for the water. This activity simulates another lesson that is taught later in the unit. I do this so the kids can have an experience with the procedure allowing them more exploration freedom in the future lesson.

I prepare the kids for the activity by explaining the guidelines.


  • keep your hands in your lap until you are asked to touch the materials
  • follow directions carefully
  • be courteous and help your table friends when needed

I dismiss one table at a time to go sit at the tables. I tell them that the best sitting tables will get the water bowl delivered to the table first. They love to compete in this way even though the lesson is guided and we will all be using the water at the same time.

Once all of the tables are seated and situated, I guide them through the exploration.


  • everyone take out this piece of paper; it is called facial tissue or Kleenex I hold up a sample for them to see and roam the room to make sure everyone has the correct piece of paper out
  • take out a pencil and try to write on this paper I ask what happens, the kids tell me it tears
  • take out a crayon and try to color on this paper I again ask what happens, the kids tell me that they have to be very careful because it tears
  • take out a marker and try to color on this paper I ask what happens and the kids tell me it's easier to write
  • take out the dropper (one per two students) and take turns dropping THREE drops* of water on this paper I ask the kids what happens and they tell me the paper soaks up the water fast

*The kids have had experience using water droppers in past lessons, so I do not need to demonstrate how to use them. If your students have never used a dropper before, please demonstrate the proper way to use it.

We repeat the same procedure as above for each type of wood and paper. We compare what happens with the different papers as we explore the different types.


10 minutes

Once we are finished with the exploration, I have the table leaders clean up the materials as I call one table at a time to come sit on the floor.

We review the different types of wood and paper we investigated. I create a chart as we discuss the wood and paper. I have a column for pencil, crayon, marker, water for each type of paper. I note in the box under each one what happened to the wood and paper types as we used these objects on them.

In this section, the kids are synthesizing what they experienced with the different types of wood paper and are drawing conclusions about the quality and uses of different types of wood and paper based on their properties.

Once we have our chart complete, I ask the kids what types of things we could use the different types of wood and paper for.

Examples of synthesizing information and drawing conclusions: For tissue they say paper mache or blowing their nose. For the hard wood, they say it makes a good bat because it's strong. For the wax paper, they say it would be good for stuff not to stick to it.


5 minutes

The kids remain on the floor as I explain the specific properties of each type of paper and how they contribute to the intended uses of the paper:

  • chip board (wood) - used for light duty, such as crafts, because it is sturdy, but not too heavy and it's inexpensive to produce
  • construction paper - used for art work because it is strong, but easy to fold, cut and color on, glues and dries quickly
  • facial tissue - absorbent and soft; good for use on the face and body
  • brown kraft paper - used for paper bags; sturdy and light; good for crafts
  • pine wood- strong; good for light furniture like bookshelves
  • oak - strong; good for long lasting furniture and sports equipment
  • corrugated cardboard - strongest of the paper samples; layered in sections for strength; carries heavy loads; good for making boxes
  • wax paper - does not absorb liquid; cannot write on with pencil; crayon can wipe off; marker "pools" and does not adhere to paper; good for cooking and baking because things don't stick to it
  • balsa wood - light and soft; good for crafts like wood airplanes

Once the kids understand the properties of each type of wood and paper paper, they can begin to apply what they know to make decisions on what type of paper to use and when.


10 minutes

For the evaluation, I have the kids remain on the floor as I explain what they are expected to do. After the instruction and demonstration, I dismiss the kids one team at a time to go sit at their tables. The table leaders pick up the science journals for each person at their table and place it on their spot.


  1. You will choose ONE type of paper AND ONE type of wood to write about
  2. You will glue ONE type to each side of your science journal page
  3. You will write about the properties of each of the type of wood and paper you chose; you may look at the chart if you need a reminder

I demonstrate as I give the instructions.

As the kids complete the assignment, I roam the room and assist as needed. I also ask kids why they chose the two types of paper they chose and what they are going to write about them. This gets them thinking about the properties of each as well as the uses.


Once the kids are finished working in their science journals, I call one table at a time to come and sit on the floor with their journals open to the pages they are working on. They are asked to turn to their floor partner. Each partner is given a 30 seconds on the timer to share which paper and wood they chose to write about and why. They also share the properties of each of the wood and paper types they chose.

I then draw 3 to 4 name sticks from the name stick can to take turns sitting in the teacher chair and sharing their work with the whole class. The audience is encouraged to ask clarifying or probing questions to get more information. Some questions might be, "Why did you pick that paper?" "What are you going to use that paper for?"

This drives the experience home for many of the students and keeps the information in the working memory. The kids are encouraged to share what they learned with their families when they get home.

Once the 3 or 4 students have presented (time is the deciding factor), I have the table leaders go around and pick up the science journals from everyone who sits at their table and place them back into the bin.