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TEKS Objective

Classify matter based on physical properties, including: mass, magnetism, physical state (solid, liquid and gas), relative density (sinking and floating), solubility in water, and ability to conduct or insulate thermal or electric energy.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that (1) matter has measurable physical properties and (2) those properties determine how matter is classified, changed and used.

Science Background

Mass, Weight and Gravity: School for Champions (website) - Illustrated definitions of weight and mass, and how they are measured.

Mass, Weight and Gravity
by Ron Kurtus, School for Champions,

All Matter has Mass & Has Volume: Fenn Schoolhouse (website) - Useful definitions of “mass,” “weight,” “volume,” “density” and “solubility,” and discussion of the different phases of matter. 

All Matter has Mass & Has Volume
Fenn Schoolhouse,

Signature Lesson

Finding the Mass of an Object: EDINFORMATICS.COM (website) - Learn how to determine an object’s mass with a triple beam balance.

Finding the Mass of an Object
Math and Science Activity Center,

Supporting Lessons

Metric Mania Lesson Plans: The Science Spot (website) - In Lesson 2, students estimate and determine the mass of a variety of objects, and record their data.

Metric Mania Lesson Plans
The Science Spot,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Density, Weight and Mass Lesson Plan: Candy Bar Lab: BRAINPOP EDUCATORS
(website) - Students are able to compare and contrast the basic properties of solids and differentiate between weight and mass.

Candy Bar Lab

Assessment Ideas

Metric Madness: (PDF) - Student groups rotate through stations or centers, using tools and applying estimation and metric measurement skills. The lesson may be adjusted to meet grade level objectives.

Metric Madness
BioEd Online,

Literature Connections

Millions to Measure. Schwartz, D. (ISBN-13: 978-0688129163)

Weighing the Elephant. Ting-xing, Ye (ISBN-13: 978-1550375275)

Matter (Early Bird Energy). Walker, Sally (ISBN-13: 978-0822528449)

Related Science TEKS

(5.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

(5.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, prisms, mirrors, pan balances, triple beam balances, spring scales, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observations of habitats or organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

Related Math TEKS

(5.4)     The student is expected to use strategies, including rounding and compatible numbers to estimate solutions to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems

Additional Resources

Tools of Science for Elementary Science: BioEd Online (video) - Begin the year with this activity, which introduces students to important science tools, such as metric rulers, thermometers and magnifiers.

Tools and Equipment of Science
BioEd Online,

SI (International Systems of Units) Measurement Reference Chart: Holt, Rinehart and Winston (PDF) - Identifies basic units of the metric system, including prefixes used to define smaller and larger quantities. Includes a conversion table for SI to English (or standard) units of measurement.

SI Measurement
Holt, Rinehart and Winston,

Reading a Triple Beam Balance: Learning Activity from Wisc-Online (website) - Online tutorials review basic parts of the balance and enable students to practice using the scale with a variety of objects.

Reading a Triple Beam Balance

Masses & Springs: Physics Education Technology (website) - This simulation creates a realistic, virtual mass-and-spring laboratory. Users can explore spring motion by manipulating spring stiffness, hanging mass, initial pull, damping (friction) and gravity.

Masses & Springs
University of Colorado at Boulder,

Your Weight on Other Worlds: Exploratorium (website) - Ever wonder what you might weigh on Mars or the Moon? Visit this site to find out!

Your Weight on Other Worlds
by Ron Hipschman, Exploratorium,

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