Unit Plan: Matter

Science / Grade 4

Big Ideas

Matter has mass, takes up space, and can change phase.

 

Concepts:

 

  • Matter
  • Phase change

Essential Questions

Students will keep considering…

Overarching Essential Question

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART A: How are observations different from inferences?
  • PART B: In what ways can matter be classified?
  • PART C: In what ways might matter change state?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

Evaluative Criteria

Teacher Evaluative Criteria:

Overall Criteria for Rubric:

Student is able to

  • Make predictions based on prior knowledge
  • Collect simple data/observations
  • Sort and classify materials
  • Make simple inferences
  • Communicate results
  • Compare results with predictions
  • Transfer and apply learning to new situations

Mystery Substance Lab Report

Student can demonstrate

  • Scientific method is followed accurately
  • Clarity of the hypothesis
  • Clarity of the procedure
  • Quality and thoroughness of the observations
  • Clarity and effectiveness of the tables/graphic organizers used to classify data and present findings
  • Justification of the classification and inferences/conclusions
  • Thoroughness of the journal

The Water Cycle Story

Student can demonstrate

  • Accuracy of the molecules in the three states and during phase change in the water cycle
  • Quality and thoroughness of the explanations
  • Quality of the presentation

Monitoring Progress

Teacher will monitor progress:

  • Collect Entrance Slips, Exit Slips, and Science Journal to check for student understanding and student reflections. Teacher can alter lessons according to the level of student understanding.
  • Teacher can maintain records using a rubric and anecdotal comments (especially of curricular processes during labs)
  • Teacher will provide one-on-one feedback or comments in response to Entrance Slips, Exit Slips, and the Science Journal

Differentiation

To be inclusive of all learners, adaptations and extensions are provided for each lesson in the Learning Events (see each lesson).

Adaptations (See lessons)

Basic facts about the states of matter, explanations of the molecules in the state of matter, and phase changes will be provided with text, visuals, and video links.

In addition, to including hands-on experiences, access to visuals, and technological resources during each lesson.

Also, students may be encouraged to work in pairs/groups to be able to discuss their ideas and brainstorm.

Allow for choice of performance/product: writing, comic, iMovie, oral re-telling, printed on the computer, etc.

Extension (See lessons)

Activities will also be available for students to use time to inquire into questions about matter.

Resources

WEBSITES

PICTURE BOOKS

  • Look, Listen, Taste, Touch and Smell: Learning About Your Five Senses by Pamela Hill Nettleton
  • What’s the Matter in Mr. Whiskers’ Room? by Michael Elsohn Ross

VIDEOS

USEFUL RESOURCES FOR PLANNING UNIT

  • Science Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning by Page Keeley
  • Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison (Thinking Routines will be found in here!)
  • Grade 7 Science Probe Textbook
  • Grade 3-6 Properties and Behaviour: Matter & Energy by Evan-Moor Corp.
  • Grade 4-6 Simple Chemistry by Evan-Moor Corp.

Reflection

How will teachers and their students reflect on and evaluate the completed project?

Teacher:
Next time I teach this unit I would…

Allow students to select the short stories that link to Identity.

Student:
My students needed:

Process:
Product:
Content:

Potential Student Misunderstanding:

  • Observations and Inferences are not the same thing.
  • Matter is not energy.
  • Phase changes are physical changes, not chemical changes.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan

 

EXECUTE THE LEARNING PLAN

LEARNING EVENTS:

  • These learning events/activities are suggested activities only. 
  • In some cases the plans are not fully completed lesson plans. 
  • The teacher may choose some lessons/activities to span over several lessons. 
  • Teachers may add, revise and adapt these lessons based on the needs of their students, their personal preferences for resources, and the use of a variety of instructional techniques.

Learning events are enriched for students when teachers consider the “WHERE TO” acronym and guiding organizer by Wiggins and McTighe.

> Click here for more information on WHERETO.

Where To

Where: Where are we going in this lesson Why? What is expected of my students during and after this lesson? • Present the performance task to students early in the unit • Post essential questions; students can generate their own questions as well • Check for  misconceptions
How: How will I hook and hold student interest during this lesson? • Use a provocation as an entry point • Present students with a mystery or challenge
Equip: How will I equip students for expected performances? How will I make sure to teach the foundational skills so that they can understand and complete tasks? • Access understandings and experience with solid instructional practices • Consider strategies that work for divers e learners • Incorporate literacy 44 strategies
Rethink and Revise: How will I help students reflect, rethink and revise their ideas, writing, and tasks? • Have students rethink the big idea • Have students reflect on  their learning  to build understanding
Evaluate: How will students self-evaluate and reflect on their learning after each lesson/task? Some ideas for self-evaluation include:

• Ticket out the door • Rubrics and checklists • Formative assessments and feedback

Tailor: How will I tailor learning to varied needs, interests and styles? (refer to the NVSD Adaptations Checklist). • Differentiate to your students with the product, the process and the content
Organize:   How will I organize and sequence the learning in each lesson and transition to a new lesson? • Start with the end in mind
Please note that the order in which teachers present this to their students is not mandated to the order of the acronym.

 

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART A: How are observations different from inferences?
  • PART B: In what ways can matter be classified?
  • PART C: In what ways might matter change state?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

Lesson 1 - Observations vs. Inferences

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART A: How are observations different from inferences?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Observations vs. Inferences
How are observations different from inferences? (Lesson 1)

1. Hook: Read Look, Listen, Taste, Touch and Smell: Learning About Your Five Senses by Pamela Hill Nettleton

Discussion and Science Journal – What do you know about your 5 senses? Why do we have them? In what ways might they be useful in science?

2. Setup Thinking Routine: See-Think-Wonder in their Science Journal

3. Turn off the lights of the classroom and take the class through the Edible Candle Experiment, pause to have students write their ideas as described below. (A) (M)

Edible Candle Experiment

Discuss and write in Science Journal

  • Ask: “What do you see?” – After teacher lights the edible candle in the dark, students can write their ‘observations’
  • Ask: “What do you think it is?” – Students can write their predictions before you take a bite of the edible candle. Again, provide time for students to add/change their predictions after you have taken a bite of the edible candle
  • Ask: “What questions do you wonder about that might help you check your prediction?” – Students can brainstorm questions that they would want to ask to be able to predict the identity of the edible candle

4. Discuss the difference between observations and inferences. (A)

5. Science Journal: How might not having clear observations lead to inferences that are not accurate? How might we make reliable observations? How might our inferences change as we gain more knowledge? (M)

ELL/Adaptations: Provide or allow for visuals (to help with describing observations), allow for short oral answers or scribing

Extension: Describe an item using their senses and see if a peer is able to identify the item.

Lessons 2 - Making Observations Using Our Senses

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART A: How are observations different from inferences?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Making Observations Using Our Senses
What information about the properties of matter can be gathered by observations? (Lessons 2)

1. Hook: Wear a lab coat and bring in a magnifying glass. Explain to the students that you have a mystery item in your box. They may ask questions (in relation to their senses) that might help them identify the mystery item.

2. Teacher will review the concept of making observations vs. making inferences in relation to the edible candle. Ask the students: Can they connect observations and inferences to the Scientific Method? (A) (T)

3. Teacher will need to provide 5-6 mystery items in separate small boxes. Students will work in groups to collect simple data about their mystery item using their five senses (colour, shape, lustre, clarity, texture, odour, sound, etc.) and record their observations. (A)

4. In groups, students will share their data with the class. The class will make inferences based on the results (observations) being shared and their prior knowledge. (M)

5. Re-visit the discussion about the difference between observations and inferences; connection to Scientific Method. (A)

6. Exit Slip – Thinking Routine: I used to think…and now I think… self-reflection in relation to topic of observations (M)

ELL/Adaptations: Provide or allow for visuals (to help with describing observations), allow for short oral answers or scribing

Extension: Continue Activity – Describe an item using their senses & see if a peer is able to identify the item.

Lessons 3 - Defining Matter

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART B: In what ways can matter be classified?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Defining Matter
What is matter? (Lessons 3)

1. Hook: Write down the word MATTER as you would setup an Acrostic Poem. Have the students write down as much as they can about the word matter – with each sentence starting with a letter from the word MATTER.

2. Discuss the definition of the word matter: Something that has mass, takes up space, and exists as a solid, liquid, or gas (A)

3. Review the idea of making observations and connect it to how we can understand the term matter. Have students break the words into smaller parts and tackle a specific term in two groups: mass and space. Teacher can use the following discussion questions: How do you know if something takes up space? How do you know if something has volume? What do we use to measure mass? What do we use to measure volume? (A) (M)

4. Setup stations: students can measure the volume of solid objects, students can measure the mass of solid objects, and students will spend time finding ways to explain these terms (matter, mass, and volume) to their peers: visual drawings, songs, actions, mind map, etc. (A) (M)

5. Exit Slip: Why does matter matter? In what ways have you seen mass and volume applied in the real world? (T)

6. Science journal: (self-reflect) Which method did you choose to remember the terms today? Why does it work for you? (M)

ELL/Adaptations: For audio-visual learners, students can understand the concept of matter by watching: Science for Kids – Measuring Matter Video

Extensions: Inquire: How does matter change in different parts of the universe?

Lessons 4 - Are These Matter?

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART B: In what ways can matter be classified?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Are These Matter
How do you know which things are not made of matter? (Lessons 4)

1. Hook: Read What’s the Matter in Mr. Whiskers’ Room? by Michael Elsohn Ross

2. Review the term matter. Provide a few different examples of matter (some solids, liquids, and gas) for the students to consider. (A)

3. Setup stations: students can test specific items to see if they are examples of matter. (M)

Questions for each station:

Predict if item is made of matter using prior knowledge. Test: Does the item take up space? Does the item have mass?

Collect simple data in the form of observations. Write down your inference to answer: Is the item made of matter?

Stations

Pushing an empty cup into a cup full of water
Pushing a rock or another solid object into a cup full of water
Turning on a flashlight into a cup full of water
Pouring water into a cup full of water

4. Discuss and Science Journal: What items are made of matter? Which items are not made of matter? If they are not made of matter, what are they? How do you know which things are not made of matter? (M) (T)

*Discuss the concept of energy. Depth of the conversation may relate to whether the Gr 4 Science Big Idea on energy (Energy comes in a variety of forms that can be transferred from one object to another) has been studied prior to or after this unit.

5. Exit Slip: Students will fill out a Frayer Model (Operational Definition, Characteristics, Examples, and Non-examples) for the term Matter. (M)

ELL/Adaptations: Use visuals, simple words, or scribe for the Frayer Model or adapt it to only include some components: Operational Definition & Characteristics.

Extensions: Continue Inquiry: How does matter change in different parts of the universe?

Lessons 5 - States of Matter

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART B: In what ways can matter be classified?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

States of Matter
How can you classify the three states of matter? (Lessons 5)

1. Hook: Is it Matter? Provide students with a list of items and have them check-off the items that they believe are examples of matter. Have them write the ‘rule’ or reason that helps them decide whether something is or is not matter.

2. Provide students with visuals or hands-on objects (some examples of solids, liquids, gases) and have them sort these objects into groups by trying to identify a common pattern. Once they have grouped their objects, have them create the ‘rule’ or reason that they used to group these objects. (M)

3. Discuss the findings and ‘rules’. Ask: Are all these items made of matter? Explain the concept of the three states of matter – Matter has three forms: solid, liquid and gas. (A) (M)

4. Now, provide the students with a 3-way Venn Diagram: Solids, Liquids, and Gas. Ask the students to sort and classify the objects according to these three states. (M)

5. Discuss (or Exit Slip): What are the ‘rules’ or common properties that these objects share for each specific category? How can you classify the three states of matter? (M)

6. Science Journal: How did your ‘rules’ change in comparison to before you knew about the 3 States of Matter to after you knew about it? How did you troubleshoot problems that came up when trying to sort the items? Self-assess how well you used your science skills (observing, classifying, inferring) today. In what ways might your math skills have helped you today? (M) (T)

ELL/Adaptations: Provide hands-on objects or visuals for which it is easier to recognize the pattern.

Extensions: Inquire: What could happen if a material could be in two states at the same time?

Lessons 6 - Comparing the States of Matter

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART B: In what ways can matter be classified?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Comparing the States of Matter
What properties of solids, liquids, and gases make them different? (Lessons 6)

1. Hook: Watch Matter Chatter. Discuss how the connections are made between observations, matter, and three states of matter.

2. Setup Stations: Provide students with some materials at each of the following stations, so they can investigate the mass and volume of materials that belong in each state. (M)

What is a solid? What is a liquid? What is a gas? (Science Works for Kids Simple Chemistry by Evan-Moor Corp. on p. 11, p. 13, & p. 15)

3. Now we are going to look a little deeper at what is happening to the molecules in each of these states. (A)

Movement Activity: Students will move according to the state of matter: Solids – stand still, close together, & elbows touching, Liquids – move slightly with elbows/wrists touching occasionally, Gas – freely move around touching rarely (Matter and Energy by Evan-Moor Corp. on p. 9)

4. Define the properties of the three states of matter. Cut & Paste: 3-way Venn Diagram with Solids, Liquids, and Gas: Have the students sort (have cut-outs of all of the properties – including what is happening at the molecular level) the properties of matter into the appropriate part of the Venn Diagram. (M)

5. Science Journal: How can you explain the properties of the three states of matter to your friends? (M)

6. Exit Slip: Critique the following sentence: water is the only example of matter that exists in more than one state. (T)

ELL/Adaptations: Students choice (visuals, oral, etc.) to complete exit slip.

Extensions: Inquire: Are there more than three states of matter? What are the other examples of items that also exist in three states? (These students might want to inquire into this portion sooner, so they can help the class to better understand the concept for the Exit Slip).

Lessons 7 - Changing States of Matter

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART C: In what ways might matter change state?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Changing States of Matter
Can matter change state? (Lessons 7)

1. Hook: Show the class a melted chocolate bar. Ask the students: What state is this chocolate bar in? What are the states that chocolate can exist in?

2. Review the properties of the three states of matter (A)

3. Sort and Classify: Provide pictures of objects made of matter that have changed state: ice and water, melted chocolate and solid chocolate, etc. Ask the students to make inferences based on their prior knowledge and discuss: How are these objects similar? How are these objects different? (M)

4. Discuss: We know that matter has three states, but how does matter change state? (A)(M)

5. Science Journal: The students can reflect on the progress they have made so far in this unit. (M)

6. Exit Slip: Apply the way in which matter changes state to the water cycle. (T)

ELL/Adaptations: Student choice (visuals, oral, etc.) to complete exit slip.

Extensions: Inquiry: Prove that matter can change directly from solid to gas or gas to solid?

Lessons 8 - Temperature and Matter

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART C: In what ways might matter change state?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Temperature and Matter
Can temperature affect matter? (Lessons 8)

1. Hook: Hand out popsicles to the students. Ask the class: “On a warm sunny day, why do you have to eat your popsicle so quickly?”

2. Review the concept of matter changing states (A)

3. Ice Cube Experiment: Tell the students that they will be measuring how long it takes for ice to melt in a few locations: in the classroom, under the sun (outside of the classroom), and two other locations that the students select. The students should predict which location they think the ice will melt in first. Thereafter, the students will place the ice in the various locations and measure how long it takes to melt. After the students have collected the simple data, they will create a bar graph with the results and share their findings with the class. (M) (T)

4. Discuss how heat causes ice to melt faster (phase change: solid to liquid). Collect the findings to find the average and create a class bar graph for inside the classroom vs. outside the classroom. (M)

5. Connections: Discuss how the concept of heat is related to energy. How do matter and energy interact? (T)

6. Submit lab report and share findings. Science Journal: Was your hypothesis accurate? If not, why not? What factors related to the scientific method did you have to consider when trying to conduct your experiment? Did you have to troubleshoot while conducting your experiment? What would you do differently next time? (T)

ELL/Adaptations: For the audio-visual learners, to help students better understand how changes can happen in states of matter, students can watch: Bill Nye the Science Guy S01E07: Water Cycle.

Extensions: Further inquiry into what role do energy and matter play in the universe?

Lessons 9 - Water Cycle

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART C: In what ways might matter change state?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Water Cycle
How does matter change phase? (Lessons 9)

1. Hook: Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy S01E08: Phases of Matter.

2. Setup Demo: water in a glass, water into an ice tray and ice taken out of the fridge (freezing), ice melts in a glass (melting), boil water in a kettle and watch the water vapor (evaporation), boil water in a kettle close to a cold window (condensation)

Have the students make predictions before each demonstration and then record their findings after the demonstration. Make a connection from last class: How does matter change phase? (M)

3. Explain that the name of each change in state is phase change. Ask the students: Can you name each phase change? See if the students are able to relate it to the water cycle; perhaps, some might want to change their inferences from their Exit Slip in Lesson 7. (A)

4. Movement Activity: Review the way molecules in a solid, liquid, and gas move from Lesson 6. Introduce the concept of heat, which is the vibration of molecules through wiggling. Students only start bumping if they are touched by another wiggling molecule. (Matter and Energy by Evan-Moor Corp. on p. 13) (A)

5. Science Journal: In what ways might temperature affect gas? (T)

6. Exit Slip: The students will use a method of choice (drawing, writing, singing, acting, etc.) to explain what happens to the molecules in the states of matter as they go through phase change. (M)

ELL/Adaptations: For the audio-visual learners, to help students better understand how changes can happen in states of matter, students can watch: Bill Nye the Science Guy S01E07: Water Cycle. Students can also have the diagram of the water cycle to label and use to explain their understanding.

Extensions: Inquire: Does the effect of temperature differ for different items?

Lessons 10 - Ice Cream Matters

The Learning Events should always be prefaced by focusing on the essential questions:

  • What role does matter have in the universe?

Topical Essential Questions

  • PART C: In what ways might matter change state?

As an overview or if you wish to combine the units in Grade 4 Science, an overarching essential question to consider:

  • In what ways might matter and energy have a role in the universe?

 

Ice Cream Matters
How do changes in temperature affect phase change? (Lessons 10)

1. Hook: Tell students they will be making ice cream today.

2. Define and give examples of the terms of melting point, boiling point, and freezing point. (A)

3. Ice Cream Matters Lab: Have the students work through an ice cream making lab. They will need a thermometer, half & half cream, sugar, vanilla, rock salt, lots of ice, and some Ziplock bags. The students should make ice cream in pairs and record the temperatures at various points so they can better understand the way in which matter is undergoing phase change. (M)

Make Ice Cream

4. Science Journal: Explain how melting point and freezing point played a role in creating your ice cream? (T)

5. Exit Slip: MATTER Acrostic. Return to the activity the students did at the beginning of the unit. This time they should create a new MATTER Acrostic and write about all that they have learned throughout this unit. (M)

ELL/Adaptations: Students might need to be paired strategically in order to make ice cream.

Extensions: Inquire: Pick a material of interest – Find the melting point, boiling point & freezing point.

The following resources are made available through the British Columbia Ministry of Education. For more information, please visit BC’s New Curriculum.

 

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas consist of generalizations and principles and the key concepts important in an area of learning. The Big Ideas represent what students will understand at the completion of the curriculum for their grade. They are intended to endure beyond a single grade and contribute to future understanding.


Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Core Competencies

orangecommunicationCommunications Competency

The set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media

bluethinkingThinking Competency

The knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development

greensocialSocial Competency

The set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society


Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Curricular Competencies & Content

Curricular Competencies are the skills, strategies, and processes that students develop over time. They reflect the “Do” in the Know-Do-Understand model of curriculum. The Curricular Competencies are built on the thinking, communicating, and personal and social competencies relevant to disciplines that make up an area of learning.


Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Additional Resources

 

First People's Principles of Learning

To read more about First People’s Principles of Learning, please click here.

For classroom resources, please visit the First Nations Education Steering Committee.