Early Childhood

First Grade Changes in Heat

Hey everyone! I am currently a student at the University of Houston and we have been working on lesson plans throughout the semester. My lesson plan is over changes in heat. I had a hard time figuring out what exactly I was going to teach in this lesson, because I feel that properties of matter has so much to cover. I started going over this topic by discussing what happens to objects when heat is added. We had hershey kisses and held them in our hands until they melted. The kids had a blast and it was very messy. (We all have some lessons that work better than others, right?). One thing that I did not cover was change in particles. Are they too little to mention this to? How in depth should I go when we talk about changes in heat? Any feedback is appreciated!

Savannah Block
Savannah Block
110 Activity Points

I would have loved this in first grade!

Did you get a chance to have them discuss similar experiences with other objects (ice cream, popsicles, ice cubes, etc)  Even though they may not understand what is happening at the particle level, they can begin categorizing experiences

As far as the part to whole, Peggy has some wonderful ideas.  I have also used wood to show that; especially sections that have detailed graining or good end cuts of rounds.  My kids can easily see how the larger item is composed of smaller "bits"

Good luck as you hit the home stretch of your student teaching!


Anne Lowry
Anne Lowry
5690 Activity Points

Talking about the changes in particals can be complex for first graders. But I feel like since you already introduced changes in heat, you should let them know how the Hersheys kiss melted. You should probably teach the students the basics about the changes in heat, maybe you can just tell them that a solid changes to a liquid and that a liquid changes to a gas and vice versa. You can have them do an activity so that they can see the process but I do not think that you should go in depth.

Diavion Wright
Diavion Wright
3155 Activity Points

Savannah, you created a memorable lesson! First hand experiences like melting chocolate in our hands gives us the foundational experiences for later understanding of complex concepts.

I agree with Diavion that the concept of particles, or changes in the energy of the matter (chocolate in this case), should be left for when the children are in third grade or older. The NGSS APPENDIX E – Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards describes the DCI at ages K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  

When teaching PS1.A Structure of matter, the concept of particles is introduced in grades 3-5 (see page 7). But you can support younger children's developing a basic understanding of this concept by providing experiences and discussing how parts make up the whole, such as blocks in a Legos structure, grains of sand in the sandbox, or leaves on a tree. 

See all NGSS Appendices here: https://www.nextgenscience.org/resources/ngss-appendices 

Best wishes,


Peggy Ashbrook
Margaret Ashbrook
9535 Activity Points

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