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What’s the Matter? Second Graders Investigate Solids

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Tracy Sabattis • updated: 4/26/2016

Students will practice critical observation techniques by comparing the properties of solids.

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    Objective

    Science- Second Grade (STEM Curriculum)

    Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties. [Clarification Statement: Observations could include color, texture, hardness and flexibility. Patterns could include the similar properties that different materials share.] SC2-PS-1-1

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    Prior Knowledge

    • Matter is everything around you.
    • Matter is anything that takes up space.
    • Matter is made up of very tiny particles called atoms.
    • When atoms join together, they form molecules.
    • Matter comes in three forms: solids, liquids and gasses.
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    Materials

    • Bucket of buttons (purchase at Walmart, Amazon, craft stores or teacher stores)
    • Pairs of objects that are different but in the same category such as a golf ball and a soccer ball. Other suggestions could be: two coats, two mugs, two books, two shoes, two chairs, two pieces of fruit, a pen and a pencil, a crayon and a marker, writing paper and construction paper and so on.
    • A scale
    • A balance
    • A ruler
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    Procedure

    Review prior knowledge.

    Say, “Today we are going to focus on solids. If you look around you will see that there are many solids in this room. Desks, pencils, paper, books, floor, door, etc. The molecules are pressed so tightly together that a solid holds its shape. Solids have properties or characteristics (qualities or features). This could include color, texture, hardness, flexibility, shape, size, weight and so on. Can two or more solids have the same properties? Let’s look at a golf ball and a soccer ball. Let’s think of the properties of the golf ball: color, texture, weight, hardness and size. Then do the same with the soccer ball. What properties do they have that are the same?"

    The focus of this discussion is to encourage the students to be observant and recognize the properties of matter.

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    Activity

    Give each group of two or three students a pair of objects. Their job is to observe the objects and think of as many properties as they can. What properties do the objects have that are the same? Same size? Same color? Use the balance, scale or ruler when appropriate. Gather students together to share some of your observations.

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    Activity or Assessment

    Pour the buttons onto a table or the floor. Each student takes four or five buttons. The student must then list the properties of the buttons that are alike and the properties that are different. Observe size, number of holes, color, shape, texture. Is there a button that has no common properties with the others? Which two buttons have the most properties in common?

    As a larger group, sort the buttons by a specific property such as same color, size or number of holes.

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    Game Time

    “Guess the Solid"

    Student thinks of a solid object. The student says a property of a solid. For example it might be, “A cube." The group offers a guess. The next clue might be, “Black and white." The next clue might be, “Dotted." Did you guess dice?

References

  • Reilly, Kathleen. Explore Solids and Liquids. Nomad Press, 2014.
  • Gregory, Josh. Experiments with Solids. Cherry Lake Publishing, 2011.