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States of Matter: Concept Development by Identifying Solids In and Around the Classroom

Having introduced states of matter and their properties, the next activity focused on increasing students’ concept development through exploration and observation.

Materials needed

Construction paper (or regular blank paper), pencil, clipboard, examples of everyday solids, color pencils/crayons

Review of vocabulary words

Reviewing key vocabulary words at the beginning of each lesson is essential for students’ comprehension, considering that these vocabulary words are not in common usage for non-native English speakers.

(Think about it…how often do your six and seven year olds use solid, liquids and gas in their everyday conversations?)

We targeted the following words:
Solid
Liquid
Matter
Shape
Weight
Space
Flow
Visible

Prior Knowledge

We discussed what the students knew about matter (from the introductory lesson). This gave us the opening to review key concepts to answer the following questions:

What is matter?
What are the properties of a solid?

Activity 1

Students picked out one object each from the basket of materials and took it back to their seats. They had a few minutes to explore, shake, and manipulate the object. Next, we came together in a circle and each student identified their object and what it is used for. They explained to their peers why the object was a solid. My students came with varying levels of fluency in English and I wanted them all to be able to participate. So I gave them carrier phrases (where the first part of sentence stays the same and the second half changes) and the students completed the sentences based on their object. This way they were able to comment in complete sentences. I also had the more fluent speakers go first to model for the shy/less fluent students.

The carrier phrases for this activity were:

My solid is a …
I can …(do what) with my …
It is a solid because… (where it takes up space)
It is a solid because… (it doesn’t change shape even if I…)

My students added the specifics of how they manipulated the object as it enabled them to relate to the concept.

States of Matter: Concept Development by Identifying Solids In and Around the Classroom.

Activity 2

The students explored the classroom and drew the solids around them.

States of Matter: Concept Development by Identifying Solids In and Around the Classroom.

States of Matter: Concept Development by Identifying Solids In and Around the Classroom.

States of Matter: Concept Development by Identifying Solids In and Around the Classroom.

As you can see they drew objects in the classroom and included personal effects as well (necklaces).

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