Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Facts of Matter

Priscilla Boan


Students will be involved in making group decisions about matter. They will explore and interpret many types of matter as well as grouping matter.


The student knows that objects can be described, classified, and compared by their composition (e.g., wood or metal) and their physical properties (e.g., color, size, and shape).

The student knows ways objects can be grouped according to similarities or differences of their physical characteristics.


-Assorted items that are solids with different shapes, sizes, and colors.
-Assorted items that are liquids which should be in closed containers of different shapes
-Assorted items that show gases, such as balloons, pinwheels to blow on, balls with air, bubbles.


1. Prepare 4 or 5 boxes of items that include solids, liquids, and gases. You need 1 box for the introduction to the lesson and the other boxes are for the groups to use.
2. Prepare labels for solids, liquids, and gases. You need one set of these for each group and one set for your introduction.
3. Plan for a special place for each group to meet in the classroom.
4. Prepare a checklist that includes the students' names and the criteria you expect your students to gain from the lesson.


1. Begin the lesson with a question to students asking what they think matter is.

2. Listen to the responses and explain to the students what matter is. Tell the students that matter is what all things are made of.

3. Bring out a box of objects you have collected to be sorted in to different groups of matter.(This box is for teaching only.)

4. Explain to the students that matter can be grouped into solids, liquids, and gases.

5. Explain to the students what solids, liquids, and gases are as you show them examples of each.

6. Tell the students that they will be grouping objects according to the type of matter it is. (This is where you will have 4 or 5 boxes of objects depending on how many groups you will have.)

7. Divide the class into groups of 4 students per group.

8. Each group will get together, divide their objects, and place them under each label.

9. Using a checklist, class gradebook, or seating chart to insure each child is interviewed, circulate the classroom checking each group's classification of objects, asking questions of students within each group, and giving feedback.


In this formative assessment, students work together in groups dividing and classifying a set of objects. Students place the objects under the appropriate labels: Liquid, Gas, Solid. Each student will be interviewed about how he/she decided a certain object fits under the selected label. Students who do not participate or have difficulty understanding will be given more instruction and the opportunity to classify a few items.
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