Lesson 18

Changing Matter: Plaid Pete Gets Physical - And Chemical!

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SWBAT identify physical and chemical changes in matter.

Big Idea

How does matter change? How are new substances created? Students get to meet Plaid Pete and Seth's Science Teacher , Mrs. Glaze, as she schools them on physical and chemical changes in matter.

Setting Up the Investigation

Connection to The Next Generation Science Standards

In this investigation, students explore the  Disciplinary Core Idea of Structure and Properties of Matter - When two or more different substances are mixed, a new substance with different properties may be formed (5-PS1-4); and use the Crosscutting Concept of   Connections to Nature of Science -  Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (5-PS1-2), 

Please Note:  The Lexile Level for What's The Matter Plaid Pete? - Lab Scenario Sheet Lesson 17 is 780 (5th Grade Range is 740 - 1010).

The Preparation Time for This Investigation is approximately 10 minutes.  However, if you decide to copy the sort cards on a color printer on card stock and laminate them for future use, allow additional time.

Materials Needed:

One copy for each student of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Lab Scenario Lesson 18

(I am also including What's The Matter Plaid Pete? - Lab Scenario Lesson 18 (Pdf Form) for anyone who has difficulty who can't download the Word version)

One copy for each student of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Lab Sheet Lesson 18

1 set of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Word Wall Cards Lesson 18

1 paper copy for each student of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Word Wall Cards Lesson 18

Download the Powerpoint Presentation:  Mrs. Glaze Explains Physical & Chemical Changes In Matter

Prepare one copy of What's The Matter Plaid Pete? - Sort Cards - Lesson 18 for each team.

If you want a quick formative assessment tool use the Multiple Choice Hold Ups and/or the True-Not True Hold Ups (See the Reflection below:  Student Engagement:  Formative Assessment That's Fun)

Focus & Motivation

5 minutes

Introduce the Scenario

I gather my scientists together and tell them that today we will learn about a new friend of Seth's, and we get to meet Mrs. Glaze - Plaid Pete and Seth's Science Teacher.  I hand out copies of What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Lab Scenario Lesson 18 to each student. 

Students begin highlighting their parts to engage in a Reader's Theater reading of the scenario.  They work in their teams to assign parts for Plaid Pete, Seth, and the Narrator.

I tell my students, "It looks like we will again be looking at changes in matter, however; this time we will be looking at the types of changes that occur.  I tell them, "The scenario is giving you some basic information about the two types of changes.  I would like you to predict the answer to the question at the bottom of the scenario:  When you combine ingredients and bake brownies, does this represent a physical change, or a chemical change?  Circle either physical change or chemical change to show your prediction.  You will be making a prediction now, but at the end of the class - you will be making a claim about this and providing evidence."

Share Lesson Objective & Success Criteria

Note:  Consistent with the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, I am now includinga language objective with each lesson.  These objectives were derived from the Washington State ELP Standards Frameworks that are correlated with the CCSS and the NGSS.

I share the lesson objectives and success criteria:

Learning Objective:  I can identify physical and chemical changes in matter.

Language Objective:  I can use academic language to compare and contrast.  [ELP.4-5.7]

Success Criteria:  I can make a claim to correctly identify a phenomenon as either a physical or chemical change in matter, and provide supporting evidence in my Science Notebook.

Guided Exploration

30 minutes

Introduce Mrs. Glaze

I tell my students that I have an activity that will help prepare them to better answer this question about the brownies.  However, before we begin the activity - they will need a bit of information.  I tell them to listen carefully as I present the following power point presentation, as there are slides that have information, and then there are questions.  I play the presentation, stopping at the questions, asking my students to turn and talk in their teams, and then calling on teams using numbered heads together for the answers.

I present Mrs. Glaze Explains Physical & Chemical Changes In Matter.  

Physical & Chemical Change Sort Activity

I pass out one set of What's The Matter Plaid Pete? - Sort Cards - Lesson 18 to each team.  I tell students that there are pairs of cards, with one card that represents a physical change, and one card that represents a chemical change.  I give an example by using the following:  I say, "This card says, "A piece of bread is cut in half to make a sandwich, and this card says - a piece of bread is placed in the toaster and is burned."  Which card represents a physical change, and which card represents a chemical change?  I ask for students to give an answer then I ask, "How do you know?"  We discuss the answers and when I am confident that my students are able to proceed, I instruct them to begin sorting the remaining cards in their teams.

I notice my teams are having a difficult time distinguishing between physical and chemical changes.  They don't have enough information to differentiate the two and therefore are not able to really discuss the items.  I am working with one team and they are discussing the jack o' lantern card.  One students says that the pumpkin has not been forever changed because you can, "put the pieces back."  Another student correctly replies, that "it will never be the same."  I realize they are both correct!  They need another reference point.  As you can see in this Video Clip, I give them a "yardstick" and ask, "Have the particles been changed."  It gives them a different way to think about it.  Yes, it is  somewhat beyond the conception of many 5th Graders - but now they are really thinking!  Now they have something to talk about.

I tell my students, "Wow, this is a difficult task!  In fact, it is even difficult for scientists to agree on sometimes.  I have some additional information that might help us.  Before you decide on your final sort - let's take a look at this."



15 minutes


 I play the following Study Jams Video for my students.

I say, "After the activity and the video, we should have some good ideas about the differences between physical and chemical changes in matter.  Let's work together to create a graphic organizer that will help us understand that while these are both types of changes in matter (that is what they have in common), they affect matter and the particles of matter in different ways."

Compare & Contrast Physical & Chemical Change

I pass out the What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Lab Sheet Lesson 18 to my students.  We work together to construct a compare and contrast Venn Diagram of these two types of changes of matter.  This graphic organizer, along with the picture sort cards, are a very effective way of assisting students with low academic language in differentiating between these two concepts.

When we are finished, they will fold them hamburger style and glue them into their Science Notebooks.  This student example shows how one student used their highlighter to help them differentiate between the two types of changes. 

I ask students to return to their sort, and see if there is anything that they want to change. When students disagree, I redirect them back to what they have learned and ask them to apply it to their sort, as seen in this Video Clip

We are ready to learn the new vocabulary that has been presented by these new concepts!

Vocabulary Instruction

10 minutes

Introduce Vocabulary

Consistent with the 5E Model of Instruction - The majority of vocabulary instruction in my classroom occurs during the "Explain" or instructional stage.  This ensures that students have the experiential activities that will allow them to connect new vocabulary terms to conceptual understanding.

I present the four words from the What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Word Wall Cards Lesson 18 using the same instructional routine outlined in a previous lesson.  In this particular case, I will give considerably more support, as students will not be as adept with these four words as they would with others.  They are new to both their listening and speaking vocabularies:

  1. Say the word to students.
  2. Ask students to repeat the word at least 5 times.  For example, I will say, "Say it to the window.  Say it to my hand.  Say it to the door.  Say it to the ceiling."
  3. I say the word in context.  For example, I will say, " The position the plants were placed in was one of the controlled variables in the video."  
  4. I will then randomly call on a student to use the word in a sentence, giving successive prompts to assist them, if needed.

Science Notebooks

I also use the same Science Notebook routine as was used in previous lessons:

After introducing the words, I again demonstrate for students how to make a three column table with rows for each of the eight vocabulary words.  I model for them in my own Science Notebook how to write the word in the first box, a non-linguistic (e.g. picture) representation of the word in the second box, and work with the class to generate an example sentence for the first word in the third box.  Students cut out their copies of the cards and place in the envelope, which they glue on the page behind their table.  They will finish sentences for the remaining seven words either for homework, or for seat-work later.  A completed notebook will look like Example 1

Reflection & Closure

5 minutes

Formative Assessment

I ask my students to go back to their desks and individually construct a "Claims and Evidence T Table."  I tell them, "Now that you have information on physical and chemical changes of matter, I want you to make a claim and provide evidence about the question that started this whole investigation.  Choose one of the following:"

I claim that Seth is correct.  Mixing ingredients and baking brownies is a physical change.


I claim that Nahari is correct.  Mixing ingredients and baking brownies is a chemical change.

Then on the right side of your T Table - use your notes and what you have learned today and provide support by stating:

My evidence is:

I further state: "Remember students, a good scientists provides as convincing a case as possible.  Give me your absolute best evidence!"