Is a liquid, solid, or a gas?

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SWBAT classify matter by different properties.

Big Idea

Students infer what type of matter is inside the plastic container.

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 review matter. They learn that matter is anything that takes up space and has weight. Also, they learn that solids, liquids, and gases are matter and they have properties (size, shape, texture,or color). In this lesson, students observe a liquid, solid, and gas while discussing the properties. The lesson is important because students observe a solid, liquid, and gas while describing the properties.

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 three forms of matter. They discuss the various properties of each form of matter. The groups record their information on the data 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 various form of matter in each plastic container.  It is imperative that students are allowed to dialogue with each other so they can express their scientific findings.

Prior Knowledge:

The students understand matter and they understand matter can be described by its properties. Also, they understand that matter takes up space and has weight.

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 them scientists to empower students and make them 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 can compare and contrast the properties of matter." 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.


Students watch a video on matter. They learn about the three forms of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. This video helps my visuals learners. Videos also help my students retain taught content.

After the video, I pose the following questions: How can liquid change into a gas? What are the three kinds of matter? How can you change the state of matter? I ask questions after the video to check for understanding.


15 minutes

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

While students are sitting at their groups' table, they assign their group roles such as: a person who records, manages, and reports. I permit the students to select their own roles so they can capitalize 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.

Before the groups start their investigation, I tell them the safety rules. 1. Do not place any items in your mouth. 2. Do not play with pointy objects 3. Do not throw items.

At each group’s tables, they are provided with three containers that are labeled from 1 to 3. Container 1 has a solid, container 2 has a liquid, and container 3 has been left empty.  Groups are permitted to ask and observe questions about the cans. They should record two questions about the mystery cans.  Then groups are encouraged to make predictions about what is inside each container. Teacher note: They can gently shake the cans in order to make their predictions. Once groups make their predictions, they can open the containers to observe what is inside the container. Groups record their observations on the chart. They observe the properties (shape, color, texture and, smell). Also, they record what type of matter is in each container.  Groups return to their predictions to draw conclusions.

While groups are working, I pose the following questions: What type of matter is in each container? How would you describe the properties of matter? How are the items alike or different?

Solid, Liquid, and Gas-Student Work-Lab Sheet

Solid, Liquid, and Gas-Video





10 minutes

Student Debrief

While students are sitting at their group's tables. We discuss the lab observations, whole class. Groups discuss what was inside the container: blue water, a yellow foam hexagon, and air. The groups also discuss the properties of the items in the containers.

Science Journal

Students complete the following question in their science journal: What were the 3 forms of matter that you explored? Then the students are asked to explain the properties of each. They are encouraged to write 1 or 2 properties. The students are provided these questions to make sure they understand their lab investigation. 

I review the students' responses in their journal to access their learning.  The lab investigation and the journal entry help guide my upcoming lessons.

Science Journal-Student Work