Identifying the Properties of Solids

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SWBAT compare and contrast the properties of solids.

Big Idea

Students use various kinds of spoons made from different materials to determine their properties as well as to determine if they will sink or float.

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards:

2-PS1-1-"Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties." In this lesson, students learn about solids. They learn that solids have a definite shape of their own.  Solids can be changed by tearing, bending, twisting, folding, cutting, and stretching. Also, they learn that solids have properties (size, shape, texture,or color). In this lesson, students use a variety of spoons made from different materials (plastic, wood, and metal). They observe the properties of the spoons and determine if it will sink or float.

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 5 addresses using mathematics and computational thinking. In K-2, students describe, measure, or compare attributes of different objects and display data on charts. In this lesson, the students observe various kinds of spoons by viewing the properties (size, shape, color, texture). They use a chart to record data based on their observations. They also test the spoons to see if it will sink or float. This lesson is essential to students because they can compare and contrast the properties of the spoons using a chart.

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups communicate with each other about the characteristics of the spoons. It is imperative that students are allowed to dialogue with each other so they can express their scientific findings.

Prior Knowledge:

Students know that matter is anything that takes up space and has mass.They also recognize that solids, liquids, and gasses are forms of matter and matter can be described by its properties.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets they created early in the school year to be worn during experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It Is Science Time" or "I Got A Feeling Song" before each lesson.



10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

“I can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I compare and contrast the properties of solids." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

K-W-H-L Chart

Teacher Note: The students started the K-W-H-L chart for the Describing Matter lesson which is Lesson 1 of this unit.

As a class, we are using a K-W-H-L chart to assess prior knowledge and evaluate students’ learning.  Before we learn about solids, students are asked to share what they already know about solids. If they need assistance, I ask the following questions: How can you tell if something is a solid? How can you describe solids? The K-W-H-L chart helps my visual learners to analyze their learning.


20 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

While students are sitting at their groups' tables, they assign roles such as: a person who records, manages, and reports. I permit the students to select these roles so they can capitalize on their strengths.  This also boosts students' self esteem. I select the leader who is the student that demonstrates leadership qualities.  The students are provided group labels and clothes pin clips. They are encouraged to wear their labels. I provide the students with the group labels  to help them identify their roles. Also, it helps promote a positive classroom environment with little disruption.

I go over safety rules with the groups. I inform them to not play with the spoons, do not place the spoons in their mouth, and do not play with the water. The rules are discussed because it is important that students understand that scientists have to follow safety rules.

They are provided with 3 kinds of spoons (plastic, metal, and wooden), aluminum pan, water, and lab sheet.

Groups are informed they are going to complete an investigation.  You are going to observe the properties of the spoons and determine if the spoons sink or float.

I have the groups observe and ask questions about several kinds of spoons (plastic, wooden, metal) at their group's table.  They are encouraged to develop two questions. Groups make a prediction about which spoon(s) will sink or float. Groups describe the properties (texture, size, color, shape) of the spoon and record their findings on the chart.  Then , the groups test the spoons by placing them in the pan of water one at a time. They record their observations on the chart.  Once they record the data, they return to their hypothesis to draw conclusions.

To facilitate students' learning, I walk around and pose the following questions: What state of matter are the spoons? Which spoon floated or sank? What were some of the properties of the (spoon, metal, wooden, plastic)?

Students are exploring spoons.


10 minutes

 Student Debriefing

While the groups are at the tables, they communicate their findings to their peers. It is essential that students are permitted to communicate as they develop into future scientists.  To increase their level of understanding about solids, I ask the students: How can they change the spoons? (Possible answers:  burning or bending)  What kind of materials are used to create the spoons?  (Possible answers: wood, plastic, metal) What properties can describe the spoon?  (Possible answers: size, color, shape, texture)

The students are asked a variety of questions to help them make a connection about solids. Students should understand that solids are a kind of matter that have a shape of their own. Solids have properties.  Also, solids can bend, tear, sink, or float. All solids are not hard and they can be smooth, soft, clay, or cotton.

I take up the lab sheet to evaluate students' understanding as well as make sure they completed the lab sheet successfully.