AS A MATTER OF FACT!
In this lesson, students are introduced to what constitutes
matter. Through inquiry, hands-on activities, simulation and problem solving,
students will increase their understanding of matter. Using mathematical
computation students will use a formula to measure the volume of matter.
Students will use standard and nonstandard tools to measure the mass of
Science Alliance: Matter
Students will be able to:
- Identify the three states of matter
- Know that all matter is composed of its own properties
- Use standard and nonstandard units to measure objects to see how matter
can be measured
- Find the volume of a variety of objects in class
- Conduct experiments to better understand the properties of matter
Each class will need:
Each student or team of three students will need:
- 3 golf balls
- 3 ping pong balls
- 1 paper bags
- transparent tub/bowl
- piece of clay: approximately one cubic inch
- 50 mL graduated cylinder
- matter: Substance of which all things are made; anything that occupies
space and has mass
- evaporation: When a liquid changes to a gas by adding heat
- melting: When matter changes from a solid state to a liquid state
when heat is added
- condensation: When a gas changes to a liquid by taking heat away
- freezing: When a liquid is changed to a solid by making it cold
- mass: The amount of matter in an object
- volume: Amount of space matter takes up
- property: A characteristic of an object that can be sensed or measured
- gas: Matter that doesn't have definite volume or definite shape
- liquid: Matter that has definite volume but not definite shape
- solid: Matter that has definite volume and definite shape
1. Pass around two paper bags. one with three golf balls and
the other with three ping pong balls.
a. Ask the class what they think is in the bags.
b. Drop a golf ball into a transparent tub of water. Ask what happened
to the ball? hold up the ping pong ball and ask class what will happen toe
it when you drop it into the water. Let class respond. Drop the ping pong
ball into the same tub of water. Discuss the difference between the golf
ball and the ping pong ball.
c. Explain to the class that even though both the golf ball and the ping
pong ball are the same size the mass of the golf ball is larger. We explain
this by saying that the density of the golf ball is larger.
2. To create the mood for today's lesson START the video with the
riddle, then STOP and allow the class time to respond. Next have
the students think of an object in their bedroom or kitchen and describe
this object on a piece of paper listing 4-5 properties. (Define properties)
a. The students then trade papers with descriptions on them with classmates
and the classmates draw a picture of the described object.
b. Find out how many in the class were able to identify and correctly draw
c. Discuss what made it easier to draw the item. (For example a more detailed
description of the item's properties)
3. Tell students to place a book on their desks. Say, "without moving
the book off of your desk, put another book in the exact same space."
a. Discuss with the class why they feel this is not possible.
To facilitate the students viewing as they tune into the video,
it helps to have them focus on some specific information that will be forthcoming
in the video. Instruct students to pay attention to what things are made
of matter. At the conclusion of the video, the students will need to be
prepared with a specific example of evaporation, melting, condensation and
1. START the video tape of "Matter," at the
beginning where it asks the riddle and continue until it says, "Matter
can be liquid like grape juice." PAUSE and ask the students
to identify other matter which could be identified as a liquid. RESUME
to where the tire with air is shown. PAUSE and ask the students to
identify other matter which could be identified as a gas. CONTINUE
the video to where it says, "you and me. PAUSE and ask what
solids, liquids and gases are called. LISTEN to responses form the class.
2. CONTINUE to "and gas state" PAUSE and review
the three states of matter with the class. (solid, liquid, and gas) RESUME
until it says, "Can you measure matter?'' PAUSE and let the
class respond. RESUME to where the lady asks, "How much mass
do you have to add to make the sides balance again?" PAUSE and
listen to the responses from the class.
3. CONTINUE until she says "we've shown you that matter in the
liquid state has mass." STOP. Discuss with the class that the
video has just shown how mass can be measured with a balance in all three
different states. Ask, "What did they use to measure the mass of a
solid?" (brick) "What did they use to measure the mass of a liquid?"
(grape juice) "What did they use to measure the mass of a gas?"
(air in a tire)
4. RESUME until they ask, "Can you figure out what my mass is?"
PAUSE while the class responds to the question. CONTINUE until
she says "solid state like Rex."
5. STOP and discuss the composition of the human body.
a. There are three physical states of matter in your body as well.
1. solids: bones and muscles
2. liquids: blood and digestive juices
3. gases: oxygen and carbon dioxide in lungs and blood
6. RESUME the video again until the question, "Is anything else
the same about all matter?" PAUSE and let the class respond.
CONTINUE until you hear "all matter takes up space." PAUSE
and ask the class how they think it could be proven that all matter takes
up space. Listen to class responses. RESUME until the lady asks,
"What will happen if I pour more?" PAUSE and have students
respond to the question.
7. RESUME until you hear, "proper scientific term for taking
up space." PAUSE and ask the class if they know hat it is. (volume)
Listen for responds. CONTINUE until you hear, "truly a giant
in science." PAUSE and ask the class "what did Archimedes
discover?" and then, "how did he discover it?" Let the class
respond to both questions.
8. RESUME video until she says all matter has mass and all matter
has volume. PAUSE and have the class repeat, "all matter has
mass and all matter has volume."
9. CONTINUE until the question, "Can matter be changed from
one state to another? PAUSE and let the class respond. CONTINUE
until "and is still the same matter just in a different state."
PAUSE and ask the class if ice is still the same matter in the solid
state (ice) as in the liquid state (water). Listen to student responses.
10. RESUME video to where the video shows the writing, "from
solid to liquid . . . melting." PAUSE and ask if there are other
changes of state. CONTINUE until "what happened to the alcohol?"
PAUSE and ask class what is evaporation? Listen to answers.
11. RESUME to where the video shows the writing "from gas to
liquid . . . condensation." PAUSE and have the class repeat
"condensation is when matter changes from a gas state to a liquid state."
12. CONTINUE to "how many example can you think of?" PAUSE
and ask for responses. CONTINUE and listen to the questions until
"many more things you'd like to learn about matter."
13. STOP the video.
1. Remind the class that they have learned from the video what
constitutes matter. Review with the class what makes a liquid, a solid,
and a gas. Have the class share their examples of condensation, evaporation,
melting, and freezing as instructed in Focus for Viewing.
2. Ask students what kinds of things are recycled. Discuss what happens
to the state of matter during recycling.
3. Divide the class into groups of three:
a. Have each student measure the length of his/her desk using his/her arm
from elbow to wrists.
1) Record each student's results.
b. Each student will then measure two/three different things in the classroom
using his/her arms, hands, etc. as a tool for measurement.
1) Record each student's results.
c. Have each student remeasure all of the above items with a metric ruler
and then compare these results for accuracy with the arm/hand measurements.
d. Discuss why the difference between the teammates measurements when using
their arms/hands vs. the same measurements when a ruler was used.
e. Relate the above to why we use standard tools to measure matter.
4. Review with the students that all matter has volume. Teach students the
formula for finding volume. (height x width x depth = volume) Have the students
stay with their groups of three and find the volume of some items in the
classroom (using a ruler for measurement). Some things they might measure
could be: books, boxes, cupboards, file cabinets, pencil boxes, etc.
a. Discuss the findings of the students about the volume of the different
5. Give each student a piece of clay and have them shape it into approximately
one cm on each side.
a. students then fill a 50 mL graduated cylinder to 25 mL mark with water.
b. put clay cube in the water
c. record the water level on paper
d. each student then changes the shape of clay
e. drop newly-shaped clay in 25 mL of water
f. record the water level on paper
g. discuss results with the class and why
This lesson will help the students gain an awareness of how
to measure matter. They will also know what matter is and become more aware
of the composition of matter in the things around them. They will understand
scientifically what is happening when ice melts, or water freezes, etc.
as matter changes from the different states. Students will know how to measure
matter and then be able to share this knowledge and understanding with others
as they come in contact with the different forms of matter.
Have students do more assignments with the metric system using their math
Have the class fold their papers into three sections and have them label
the sections as: solid, liquid and gas. Have them draw a picture in each
box to demonstrate these different states of matter.
Read "Sugaring Time," by Kathryn Lasky to learn about the properties
of maple sap used to make maple syrup.
Read "Ice Cream," written by William Jaspersohn demonstrating
how matter is involved in the ice cream making process.
Research Archimedes to find out more about measuring volume.
Research Roy Plunkett to learn what he knows about matter.
Research George Washington Carver to find out what he discovered about how
matter interacts with other matter helping him invent over 300 uses for
Find out if your community recycles and how your family can help.
Master Teacher: Nona Edwards
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online