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Experiencing Matter: 9 Activities for Intermediate Scientists

Grade Levels
4th, 5th
Resource Types
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Teachers Pay Teachers
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These 9 activities are designed to engage students' brains!
Each activity includes a teacher card, student directions card, and all student sheets needed. Student sheets are created to fit in students’ science notebooks.

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Activity Descriptions:
Vocab that Matters- Students complete vocabulary charts for 9 important terms and play a whole class game.
Observing Matter- Students choose items to observe as scientists.
"Mass"ive Rocks- Students use a double pan balance to determine the mass of 5 different rocks.
Under the Sea- Students learn about finding volume of irregular objects using the displacement of water.
Submarine!- Students find the mass and volume or materials while trying to find a way to make a film canister sink and float. Relative density (not the formula) is discussed.
Conducting Investigations- Students design a plan to determine whether a material is a conductor or insulator. Then, students test their plans.
Are all metals magnetic conductors?- Students design an experiment to test whether all metals are magnetic and conduct electricity. Then, students follow the scientific method to investigate.
A Salty Dilemma- In this whole class activity, students are presented with an argument about saltwater evaporating more quickly when heated or at room temperature. Together, the class designs an experiment and tests it.
All Mixed Up- Students investigate how substances sometimes maintain their physical properties when mixed. They will observe what happens when 2 substances are mixed together.

Table of Contents:
Introduction pg. 3
Master Materials List pg. 4
Vocab that Matters pg. 5
Observing Matter pg. 14
“Mass”ive Rocks pg. 18
Under the Sea pg. 22
Submarine! pg. 29
Conducting Investigations pg. 35
Are all Metals Magnetic Conductors? pg. 40
A Salty Dilemma pg. 45
All Mixed Up! pg. 53
Contact, Copyright, and Credits pg. 59

Materials Needed:
Vocab that Matters: 2 fly swatters

Observing Matter (per pair): baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, nickel, hand lens, magnet, cork, (other small objects will work too), centimeter ruler

“Mass”ive Rocks (per group): 5 rocks (labeled A-E), double pan balance, gram cubes

Under the Sea! (per group): 500 ml beaker, beaker (or cup) of water, 3 small plastic toy animals (ocean themed if possible)
*You can also use other common objects to teach finding volume by measuring the displacement of water.

Submarine! (per group): film canister, cotton balls, small pebbles, cup or beaker of water, triple beam balance, graduated cylinder or beaker (large enough to hold the film canister)

Conducting Investigations (per group): 3 wires, D battery, mini light bulb, 2 materials to test as conductors an insulators, perhaps a toothpick and paperclip

Are all Metals Magnetic Conductors? (per group): magnet, 3 wires, D battery, mini light bulb, 4-5 of the suggested metal samples (penny, nickel, aluminum, steel, iron)

A Salty Dilemma (per class): two 100 ml beakers, cup of at least 60 ml of water, 10 ml of salt, spoon, timer

All Mixed Up (per group): vegetable oil, corn syrup, water, sugar, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, iron filings, sand, 3 beakers or cups, tray, spoon, magnet, 2 graduated cylinders, safety goggles for each student

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
5-PS1-3 Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.

4.5A measure, compare, and contrast physical properties of matter, including size, mass, volume, states (solid, liquid, gas), temperature, magnetism, and the ability to sink or float
4.6B differentiate between conductors and insulators
5.5A classify matter based on physical properties, including mass, magnetism, physical state (solid, liquid, and gas), relative density (sinking and floating), solubility in water, and the ability to conduct or insulate thermal energy or electric energy
5.5C demonstrate that some mixtures maintain physical properties of their ingredients such as iron filings and sand
5.5D identify changes that can occur in the physical properties of the ingredients of solutions such as dissolving salt in water or adding lemon juice to water

North Carolina (NCES):
4.P.2.1 Compare the physical properties of samples of matter
5.P.2.3 Summarize properties of original materials, and the new material(s) formed, to demonstrate that a change has occurred.

Florida (NGSSS):
SC.5.P.8 Compare and contrast the basic properties of solids, liquids, and gases, such as mass, volume, color, texture, and temperature.
SC.5.P.8.3 Demonstrate and explain that mixtures of solids can be separated based on observable properties of their parts such as particle size, shape, color, and magnetic attraction.

This file is intended for individual teacher use.
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Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks

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Experiencing Matter: 9 Activities for Intermediate Scientists
Experiencing Matter: 9 Activities for Intermediate Scientists
Experiencing Matter: 9 Activities for Intermediate Scientists
Experiencing Matter: 9 Activities for Intermediate Scientists