Supports NGSS MS-PS-1-1 in that students need to know what is matter before they can consider the composition of different types of matter.
I created this card sort to use with my students because when reviewing “what is matter?” I found that my students often state “EVERYTHING IS MATTER!” but then make mistakes when asked to identify things such as a car exhaust as a type of matter. In the sort students are challenged to sort items into two categories and as they make decisions about how to place the cards, discuss their thinking and rationale and with some teacher support come to a working definition of matter as something that has both mass and volume. (takes up space)
I have used this task in two ways
•As a collaborative lesson in which I have divided the class into groups of 3-4 students that work together to sort the examples into matter or not matter. Sometimes I allow then to make an “we are unsure”. pile.. I walk around observing and listening to the discussion between the students. I do a lot of formative assessment of student understanding at this time and ask questions such as “why did you put that there?” What about that card is making it hard to decide where to put it?” Then I have students share out to the class examples of things they were confident they placed correctly and we make a master list on the board. In this discussion we might move things to other categories as the students mull over the correct placement of the items..
•As a station for small group review or independent practice.
The card sort can be prepared in different ways. The two I have used are
•Printed on card stock as quick table card sort to get students thinking about what is matter and then based on the discussion create a rule as a whole class that we put into our science notebooks.
•Printed on paper for students with IEP or MOD requirements to glue down after sorting and to add notes
MODS for HIGH/LOW students
For Higher Students or Challenge
I’ve included the term “wind” in the sort as a challenge item because this one seems to be an example that leads to a lot of discussion. Students will argue that wind takes up space because it moves things out of the way, however it you also look at does wind has mass, it doesn’t seem to fit the rule and students often decide that wind is a type of energy and is NOT matter.
For Lower Students MODS/ELL
I’ve included a paper sort version that students can cut and glue down. (use page 3 and page 5) and a version with images that can be used as part of a card sort to support ELL students (page 6)
Cover, TOU (2 pages)
Teacher Notes (1 page)
Is It Matter Card Sort (includes optional statement for higher student MOD and a version with images for ELL and differentiation) (2 pages)
Page for gluing down sorted statements (SPED MOD) (1 page)
Answer key (1 page)
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