ALEX Lesson Plan


What's the Matter? A Lesson on Physical Properties

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Melissa Knowles
System: Scottsboro City
School: Scottsboro City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34559


What's the Matter? A Lesson on Physical Properties


This lesson will allow students to investigate matter and its states by describing and classifying substances according to their physical properties. Students will begin their journey with a song. Then identify their thinking with an idea chart. Finally, they will put their learning into practice in the real-world with an explorative scavenger hunt.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
1 ) Conduct an investigation to describe and classify various substances according to physical properties (e.g., milk being a liquid, not clear in color, assuming shape of its container, mixing with water; mineral oil being a liquid, clear in color, taking shape of its container, floating in water; a brick being a solid, not clear in color, rough in texture, not taking the shape of its container, sinking in water).

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E4.6: Some Earth materials have properties either in their present form or after design and modification that make them useful in solving human problems and enhancing the quality of life, as in the case of materials used for building or fuels used for heating and transportation.

NAEP Statement::
P4.1: Objects and substances have properties. Weight (mass) and volume are properties that can be measured using appropriate tools.*

NAEP Statement::
P4.3: Matter exists in several different states; the most common states are solid, liquid, and gas. Each state of matter has unique properties. For instance, gases are easily compressed while solids and liquids are not. The shape of a solid is independent of its container; liquids and gases take the shape of their containers.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Matter and Its Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Conduct an investigation to produce data that is used as evidence to describe and classify various substances according to physical properties.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Solid
  • Liquid
  • Physical Properties
  • Investigate
  • Classify
  • Opaque
  • Transparent
  • Translucent
  • Rough
  • Smooth
  • Float
  • Sink
  • Shape
  • Various
  • Substances
  • Conduct
  • Describe
Students know:
  • Different kinds of matter exists.
  • Properties of both solids (opaque, transparent, translucent, rough, smooth, float, sink, has its own shape) and liquids (color, assumes shape of container, opaque, transparent, translucent).
  • Many types of matter can be either solid or liquid, depending on temperature.
Students are able to:
  • Plan and conduct an investigation to produce data that is used to describe and classify substances according to physical properties.
Students understand that:
  • Observable patterns in the properties of materials provide evidence to classify the different kinds of materials.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Solids and Liquids, FOSS

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.2.1- Participate in investigations to describe and sort various substances according to physical properties.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will classify objects into their state of matter.

Students will create an idea chart for their thinking on matter.

Students will put into practice their learning on an exploration walk to find objects in their world in each type of matter state.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Sticky note (1 per student)

White Board and Marker (To copy idea chart)

What is the World Made Of? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld or a book about matter and it's states

Copy of States of Matter Song (Project the song through a projector, project 1 copy with document camera, or 1 copy per student for science notebook)

Copy of Idea Chart (1 per student or draw in science notebook)

Copy of Scavenger Hunt (1 per student or draw in science notebook)

Technology Resources Needed:

Optional for States of Matter Song: Computer and Projector, Document camera


Copy Idea Chart onto Whiteboard (For students to place the sticky note with their thinking written on it)

Students should understand that matter is anything that takes up space and has mass.



Allow students a minute to read over the song.

Sing States of Matter (To the tune of Farmer in the Dell)


Introduce matter states to the class using the song lyrics. Give students some time to add their thinking to their idea chart. While they are writing, pass out a sticky note to each student. This will give you time to informally observe students that are struggling and question them to get their thinking started. When students have had enough time. Have them copy one idea to a sticky note.

* If this is the first time students have completed an idea chart, you may want to model your thinking process with the students verbally explaining each section.


Ask students to come to the board and place their sticky note in the appropriate section. As a class, discuss their thinks, knows, wonders, and connections. Encourage the class to record other student's response in their journal.


Read What is the World Made Of? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

At the bottom of the idea chart, in student language compose a definition for solid, liquid, and gas.


Go on a matter scavenger hunt (indoors or outdoors) for solids, liquids, and gases. Add to Matter Scavenger Hunt. Come back for a quick class discussion. Have students answer the questions at the bottom. Allow students to discuss their reasoning for the answers obtained.

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Assessment Strategies

Teacher observation

Idea chart

Scavenger hunt results



Allow students to design a flow chart or if then statements-type test for objects using the physical properties of the types of matter. Example: If the object is clear, it could be a liquid or gas.


Complete an idea chart within small groups.

Stay close during the scavenger hunt to quickly remedy any misconceptions.

Create flash cards with definitions and pictures for strugglers.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.