Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: Properties of Matter
Students begin their investigation of matter by observing the physical properties of matter with their five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Then students compare and classify objects based on the properties they observed.
Section 2: Floating and Sinking
Students test a variety of objects to see which float in water and which sink. They learn that all matter is made of particles, and that the closer together the particles are, the denser the matter. Then they make a sunken egg float in water by adding salt to the water and increasing the water's density. From this they conclude that an object will float if it is less dense than the liquid that surrounds it.
Section 3: Heating and Melting
Students are introduced to the process of melting. They begin by observing the differences between a solid and a liquid and experimenting with different ways to make ice melt. They understand that applying heat to a solid can turn it into a liquid. Students also examine the factors that increase the rate of melting, such as increased heat and greater surface area.
Section 4: Cooling and Freezing
Students are introduced to the process of freezing. They place a bag of water in the freezer and observe the water turn to a solid as it gets colder. Students also learn how insulation can keep frozen things from melting. They experiment with different types of insulating materials, then make a class cooler to see how long they can keep an ice cube from melting.
Section 5: Mixing and Separating Matter
Students learn how mixtures form and discuss some examples of common mixtures. Then they experiment with two methods of separating mixtures. First, they use paper chromatography to separate black ink into its component colors. In the next two activities, students observe the evaporation of water from a saltwater solution, which leaves crystals of salt behind.