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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
What's Matter?
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites
In preparation for this lesson, students should have a working knowledge of how to use a Web browser and how to make a presentation for a project.

Computer Resources:
You will need to download the Shockwave Flash plug-in in order to participate in the online student learning activity. Click on the Shockwave icon for download instructions.

At least one computer should have Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95 or higher.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

  • pencil
  • copies of Goals questions
  • computer access
The following sites should be bookmarked:

  •  Interactive Physics Modules

    This virtual chemistry laboratory uses Shockwave Flash to enhance a comprehensive tour through the basics of chemistry.

  •  Chem4Kids: Elements's Chem4Kids offers an interactive Periodic Table of Elements full of cool facts about the elements.

  •  Chem4Kids: Elements

    This section of Chem4Kids explains the make-up of an atom in simple terms.

  •  Chem4Kids: Elements

    Check out the map of the States of Matter at this site. Learn the relationship between the different phases.


    Time Allotment:
    This lesson requires approximately 8-10 class periods.

  • Introduce matter as a scientific concept. Engage students in a discussion about what they think matter is and what they already know about it.

  • Students should go to Interactive Physics Modules ( and familiarize themselves with how to navigate the site. They will first click on the "Matter" icon. From then on they proceed through the site by clicking on the large right arrow. The "file cabinet" icon allows you to skip ahead or go back to previous parts of the lesson. The small left arrow will go back one step. There is also a help section.
    Note: This site might run slow because of the high volume of moving graphics.

  • Divide the class into 3 groups. Hand out the Organizers for Students according to the groups. (Group 1 should get Goals for Group 1; Group 2 should get Goals for Group 2; and Group 3 should get Goals for Group 3.) The question sheets consist of several goal questions and one do-it-yourself research question which requires visiting a different site. Each student should go through the entire IPPEX site while focussing on the questions assigned to his/her group.

    ANSWER KEY to the Research Log

    Goal 1

    1. What is made up of atoms?
    • Atoms are the building blocks of everything in the world.

    Goal 2

    1. Atoms are made of what three things?
    • Protons, neutrons, and electrons.

    2. The nucleus has what two parts?
    • Protons and neutrons.

    3. What do the electrons rotate around?
    • The nucleus.

    4. Which has the most mass, an electron, a proton, or a neutron?
    • An electron.

    5. What is the diameter of an electron cloud?
    • 1-3 angstroms.

    6. What kind of charge does a proton have, positive, negative, or none?
    • A positive charge.
    7. What kind of charge does a neutron have?
    • It has no charge.
    8. What kind of charge does an electron have?
    • A negative charge.
    9. Do electrons attract protons?
    • Yes.

    Goal 3

    1. When an atom has a ___________ (extra protons or electrons) it is called a(n) ___________.
    • net charge, ion.

    2. What is an atom with a particular number of protons called?
    • An element.

    3. How many elements are there?
    • Over 100.

    4. What simple element has only one proton?
    • Hydrogen.

    5. What chart is used to organize the elements?
    • The Periodic Table of the Elements.

    6. When elements combine, what do they form?
    • They form molecules.
    7. What is the "shell model"?
    • Electrons sit in various energy levels.
    8. How many electrons can each of the three levels (or shells) hold, in respective order from lowest to highest level?
    • The first can hold 2, the second can hold 8, and the third can hold 18.
    9. Does the number of electrons in an atom equal the number of protons when the net charge of an element is zero?
    • Yes.

    10. What makes elements more stable in their environment?
    • When their energy levels are filled, they are more stable.
    11. What is the form that hydrogen takes naturally?
    • Two atoms combined in one molecule.

    12. What is the formula for the molecule that covers 75% of our earth?
    • H2O.
    Goal 4

    1. What 3 states of matter are found in your home every day?
    • Solid, liquid, and gas.

    2. What is the fourth state of matter that represents 85% of all matter in the universe?
    • Plasma.

    3. What body in our solar system is made up of plasma?
    • The sun.

    Goal 5

    1. What is defined as the mass of a material per unit of volume?
    • Density.

    2. What is the formula for finding density?
    • Density= Mass/Volume, or D = M/V.

    3. How does density affect the buoyancy of an object? For example, would an object that is less dense float in water better than an object that is more dense?
    • Yes, buoyancy depends greatly on how dense an object is. If it is less dense, it will float better.


    Students could draw examples of matter and label the parts. They could also create three-dimensional models of examples of matter.

    Groups can demonstrate their expertise by creating a multimedia presentation, a poster, or a verbal report. Refer to Paul Robeson lesson


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. When the groups have finished working, they should switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites.

    You can also set up the class so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students