Today we talked about the phases of matter and I broke the lesson up into 4 different activities using a variety of strategies.
Part 1 – Brief introduction to set the stage
I told the students to place their hands on the table and close their eyes. I then asked them “Is the table moving?” Variety of answers. I told them that the table is made up of billions of atoms that are vibrating, we just can’t feel it. Atoms do not stay still, I mentioned absolute zero and how scientists think that atoms would stop moving at this extremely cold temperature. Last I checked, we got really close but have not reached absolute zero yet.
Keeping their eyes closed, I ask them if they feel the air molecules hitting them right now. Gasses move very quickly and are bouncing around the room, hitting each other, bumping into the wall, off the ceiling, off the floor, kind of like a pinball machine. I also ask them to take a deep breath – the air is filling up their lungs. I also mention that they are breathing the same air that the ancient Greeks and Australopithecus did (they just studied early man in History class). All the matter on Earth has always been here and is constantly recycled. The oxygen you are breathing right now was once part of a water molecule, or part of an animal, etc… They think its cool and gross at the same time, of course!
Part 2: BrainPOP movie on States of Matter.
I show the movie and paused it when it zoomed into the glass of water and showed the water molecules. I ask the kids, “What do you notice about how the atoms are arranged?” We discuss it and I have them draw the atoms, in a color of their choice, into their notes in the liquids box. Continue the movie.
Paused the movie again when it zoomed into the gas atoms up close. ”What do you notice about how these are arranged compared to the liquid?” Using a different color, they draw the gas atoms into the gas box. Continue the movie.
Paused again when it zoomed into the solid atoms up close. “What do you notice about how these are arranged compared to the liquid and gas?” They came up with great observations, such as many more atoms, close together, not a lot of empty space between each, and they were neater – arranged almost in a pattern. Using a third color, we drew in the atoms for the solid. Played the rest of the movie.
Part 3 – Notes – Jigsaw/read aloud
I assigned a paragraph to each group and gave them about 3 minutes to complete their assigned section. Once they were done, each person in group 1 read a sentence out loud to the rest of the class. Student 1 read the 1st sentence, student 2, the next, and the group continued until the whole paragraph was done. I used 3-4 students per group for this activity.
The other groups/students listened and filled in their notes. We then moved to group 2 for the second paragraph, and so forth. This worked really well. Some of the kids noticed that it was exactly the same as the movie, which it was, I made a transcript and cut out important words and placed them in the word bank.
Part 4 – Closure using the matrix
Using the BrainPOP graphic organizer, we reviewed the main concepts that we learned today, making sure to fill it in completely and correctly.
Homework: cut ‘n paste vocabulary to review terms we discussed today.