We have jumped in to our new unit. To help us explore our central idea that Matter is all around us and can change states through physical and chemical reactions we started by learning about states of matter and atomic structure. We practiced our observation skills by making observations about two unknown substances. Then we predicted what would happen when we combined them.
After getting our interest peaked, we started asking questions to help guide our unit. We worked in small groups to think about connections between our questions. Eventually we organized them by the key concepts.
To help us understand states of matter, we went back to a scientists main tool - observation! Students moved through 12 rotations quickly making some observations about each material. Using their observations, they categorized the materials as solids, liquids, or gases. Then, they added their observations to their previous knowledge to identify characteristics of each state of matter.
Using our notes, we worked together to build a shared understanding and definition of each state of matter. We used videos to help us understand special types of liquids - non-Newtonian fluids.
Next we focused on the tiny. We started talking about atomic structure. To help us visualize the particles, we made models. Green marshmallows represented protons, white marshmallows were neutrons, and raisins were electrons. Toothpicks helped hold everything in place. Students got to decide which of the first 10 elements they wanted to build an atom of.
To help solidify their understanding, they matched definitions for different terms connected to atoms.
This also becomes a reference page in their binders for later in the unit.