Matter: Solids, Liquids & Gases
GEMS Teacher's Guide for Grades 1–3
Written by Kevin Beals & Carolyn Willard
Warning: This unit can lead to a
fascination with science!
Matter: Solids, Liquids and Gases invites students to figure out the physical world around them. As children, this is already their main pursuit! This unit capitalizes on that natural curiosity and helps young students learn to think critically and gather and apply evidence to expand their knowledge, just as scientists do.
Matter surrounds us, interacts with us, is us, all day every day! It’s the stuff we can feel, hold, weigh, smell, see, touch, and taste. In this guide we focus on the three basic states of matter—solid, liquid, and gas. The unit helps students generate definitions and understandings of the properties of solids, liquids, and gases, and apply these definitions and understandings to classification of “challenging substances.”
An understanding of matter is fundamental to scientific literacy. The ability to distinguish among solids, liquids, and gases is a gateway to more advanced understandings. The concepts in this unit align strongly with multiple state science standards, the National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. This unit is responsive to extensive research on student misconceptions and is designed to give students repeated opportunities to revise their ideas.
Time: Five activities comprising six classroom sessions, 45-60 minutes.
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