Matter is all around us, and K-2 students are familiar with it. Although they may not use the word “matter” to describe something, students are used to the solid feel of a plastic bucket in their hands or the soft texture of the t-shirt on their back. They know to eat ice cream quickly before it melts. They understand that a fire will burn away logs in the fireplace or the wax in a candle.
Science4Us begins the study of matter with everyday objects that students are comfortable with. The Materials and Mixtures module begins the unit. Students explore everyday objects they know like recyclables, identifying objects made of wood, cloth, plastic or metal.
Kindergarten through second grade students have experience with matter in its three states: solid, liquid and gas. In the States of Matter module, students further explore the unique properties used to characterize each phase, and learn that anything on earth that has mass and takes up space is matter.
The Changes in Matter module further explores the concepts from previous modules, and looks at how matter may be modified or changed. Through an instructional video, games, and activities, students explore three types of changes that occur in matter: physical change, in which only the shape of the matter changes; physical phase change, in which matter changes to a different form (solid, liquid, or gas); and chemical change, in which matter is changed in a way that cannot be undone (fruits ripening or foods cooking).
Science4Us allows K-2 students to explore matter at many levels. Students learn new vocabulary to describe what they see as they watch matter transformed into mixtures or make physical or chemical changes. Games and animated characters make this complex learning fun. In the classroom, students complete hands-on activities to experiment with matter. Finally, students record what they have learned in their digital notebook. Even these very young students will come away from the Matter Unit with an increased understanding of the matter around them and with scientific vocabulary to build upon when they study matter in the future.