Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Changes All Around Us

Sherri Barber
Santa Rosa District Schools


After students observe various physical and chemical changes demonstrated in class, they work in groups to create a collage of pictures to illustrate how changes occur all around us.


The student knows the difference between a physical and chemical change.


-Poster board
-Colored markers
-Test tube
-Test tube holder
-Lighter or bunsen burner
-Jar (size of a mayonnaise jar)
-Block of ice to fit over jar opening
-Hot water
-One cup vinegar
-One tablespoon baking soda
-Soda bottle
-Changes All Around Us handout and Collage Checklist (See Associated File)


1. Gather materials.
2. Make copies of the Changes All Around Us handout and Collage Checklist for students. (See Associated File)
3. Set up materials on table for demonstrations.
4. Write Physical Change and Chemical Change on the chalkboard. Write the definition for each term with key words underlined.
5. Set up table with materials for collage activity.


Students should be able to answer these questions: 1) What is matter? 2) What are the properties of matter? 3) What are the phases of matter?

1. To start off, show the class the terms (physical change, chemical change) and their definitions that you have written on the chalkboard. Read the definition of each term to the class. Definitions: [A chemical change is a change that produces a new substance. A physical change is a change that does not produce a new substance.] Underline the key words in each definition.

2. Tear a page out of a magazine. Cut a picture out of the page. Use a marker to color something on the picture. You have changed the size, shape, and color of the page that you tore out. Ask students: How have I changed the paper? Are these physical or chemical changes? How do you know? Have students give examples in which you might change the size, shape, or color of a substance.

3. Place hot water in a jar. Place an ice block over the top of the jar. Have students observe the phase changes that occur. Their observations should include: Hot water (liquid) evaporates to form steam (gas). The steam (gas) condenses to form a liquid when it comes in contact with the ice or cooler surface of the jar. The ice (solid) is melting to form a liquid. Ask students: When a substance undergoes a phase change does that change what the substance is? Is this a physical or chemical change? Have students give examples of phase changes.

4. Place sugar in a test tube. Holding the test tube with the test tube holder, heat up the sugar using a lighter or Bunsen burner. Wear goggles during this procedure. Have students observe what happens to the sugar as it is heated. Ask students: Has the substance (sugar) changed into a new substance? When a substance is burned is this a physical or chemical change?

5. Pour 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a soda bottle. Next, pour one cup of vinegar in the soda bottle with the baking soda. Wear goggles during this procedure. Have students observe what happens. The vinegar and baking soda produce a carbon dioxide gas when combined. Ask students: Does this change produce a new substance? Is this a physical or chemical change?

6. Distribute the Changes All Around Us handout. (See Associated File) Put students in groups to classify changes as physical or chemical changes. Give students 10 minutes to complete the handout. Review the handout with the students.

7. Give each group the Collage Checklist (See Associated File) and review it with them. Students make a collage using pictures that they cut out of magazines. They cut out pictures that represent physical and chemical changes. They may organize their information on their poster boards in any way they choose. They should be prepared to explain each picture. Allow students about 20 minutes to work in their groups. Students share their work with the class.


1. Monitor answers by calling on students during class review of the Changes All Around Us handout. (See Associated File)
2. Evaluate each groupís collage using the checklist (See Associated File) that was given to the students to make sure each picture identifies a physical or chemical change correctly.


1. Have students assist you with the demonstrations in Procedures 2-5.
2. Instead of working in groups, have students do collages on their own in which you encourage them to select pictures that tell about themselves. They could do this as a homework assignment in which you give them a few days to complete.
3. Students could use sticker dots to number pictures on their collages and then write a complete sentence to identify each picture on their own numbered paper. For example, for a picture of ice cream, a student might write: When ice cream melts it undergoes a phase change which is an example of a physical change.
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