Grade Range
1st-2nd
Group Size
3 students
Active Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Area of Science
Materials Science
Key Concepts
Material science, material properties
Learning Objectives
  • Conduct an investigation to identify at least five different properties of a material.
  • Explain, with evidence, that different materials have their own unique properties.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to describe the properties of materials.
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
Styrofoam® is a registered trademark of The Dow Chemical Company.
Hands holding a flashlight and shining light onto a piece of cloth. Other materials such as a stone, playdough, a popsicle stick, a coin, and a metal washer lie next to a worksheet. A bowl filled with water is standing on the worksheet.

Overview

Plastic, metal, wood, and stone. We encounter many different materials every day. Each object around us is made of a specific material. Why are they not all made from the same material? The answer is that every material has different properties; some are hard and others are soft, some are transparent and others are opaque. For each product that is produced, the material from which it is made determines many of its properties. This is why material testing is so important. These tests allow researchers and engineers to select the appropriate material for each product. In this lesson plan, students will do their own material testing to characterize different materials and to compare their properties with each other.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 2-PS1-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations. Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer a question.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Construct an argument with evidence to support a claim.
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter. Different kinds of matter exist and many of them can be either solid or liquid, depending on temperature. Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties.
Patterns. Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed.

Materials


Materials needed for the 'Material Testing' lesson plan.
  • Two balls of the same size, but a different material. Some possibilities are glass marbles, wooden or Syrofoam balls, bouncy balls, or sports balls. The two balls should have distinct properties (e.g. bouncy versus non-bouncy, transparent versus opaque, squishy versus non-squishy, etc.)
  • Various materials to test, such as:
    • Wooden popsicle stick
    • Plastic sandwich bag
    • Piece of Styrofoam
    • Play dough or clay
    • Piece of paper
    • Tissue paper
    • Thick rubber band
    • Rock
    • Piece of cloth or fabric
    • Metal paper clips or washers
    • Coin
    • Aluminum foil

For each student group of 3:

  • 2-3 of the above-mentioned materials; 1 of each material per group. Each group should test a different set of materials.
  • Bowl or cup filled with water (the bowl should be big enough to also fit each of the selected test materials)
  • Medicine dropper or pipette
  • Flashlight
  • One additional coin
  • Paper towels

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Grade Range
1st-2nd
Group Size
3 students
Active Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Area of Science
Materials Science
Key Concepts
Material science, material properties
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
Styrofoam® is a registered trademark of The Dow Chemical Company.
Learning Objectives
  • Conduct an investigation to identify at least five different properties of a material.
  • Explain, with evidence, that different materials have their own unique properties.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to describe the properties of materials.
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