Early Childhood

Kindergarten Lesson Plan


I am working on a Kindergarten 5E Lesson Plan on matter and energy. A misconception student might face is when observing objects, students might think that small objects are always light and big objects are always heavier. How can I work with children so that they get rid of this misconception during the lesson?

I would appreciate any help. Thank You!

Leslie Cedillo
Leslie Cedillo
905 Activity Points

Excellent question, Leslie - and you have got to the heart of a major misconception many adults, not just pre-K/K students, have about density:  the characteristic relationship between the mass and volume of materials.  Or, simply put, the amount of matter in a given space.

I think the best way to tackle this is to have a hands-on activity.  Buy or make identical-sized blocks, cylinders, or balls of different materials: plastic, wood, soap, metal, styrofoam, plasticine, and so on.  Although we are saying size, we actually are referring to volume.

If you get identical diameter solid rods, or bars of materials like iron, aluminum, wood, plastics you can make your shapes by cutting them into identical lengths. Now do the same series of objects with larger sizes if you can.  The more sizes you can get the better.  

Have students hold the same-sized cube of iron and aluminum in their hands.  They should observe a difference – but this is subjective.  If you have access to a double-pan balance or make a simple teeter-totter affair, show the students how it works to identify the comparative masses of objects.  Now the students can do objective observations of which objects are 'heavy' and which are 'light’.   Have them rank the different blocks from heaviest to lightest.  

Can they balance a small, 'heavy' object with 'lighter' objects?  At some point, the students should realize that many 'light' things (or larger 'light' things) can have the same weight (mass) as a smaller 'heavy' object.  

Additionally, you can get different sized containers (i.e. plastic shot glasses and drinking cups from the discount store) for solid materials (liquids will be tougher and messier) that you can pour: sand, soil, perlite, glitter, etc., and do the same comparisons.  

Now blow up a balloon!  How does that compare to any of your other materials? It's bigger (larger volume), but I bet it's lighter (less mass) than almost everything else.  

Hopefully this will lead to a better understanding of density of different materials.  You can't judge the weight of material by its size!

Hope this helps!

Gabe Kraljevic

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
4059 Activity Points

Leslie, you are so right!

Gabe, thank you fior those great ideas.  An additional way I have used in my preschool class is taking same sized containers (clear if possible, but still works if opaque), and then using different sized dried beans (lentils, chickpeas, and pintos work well) fill each container with the same amount.  The class should not only see that the same amount fills to different levels, but also that the air space in between is different.  And if you can't use beans, glass stones and marbles from the dollar store also work

After we make the predictions and fill the containers (I can use glass jars at my school), I let them sit for a few days so the kids can explore them and create their ideas before we have any group discussions about it

Have fun!


Anne Lowry
Anne Lowry
5270 Activity Points


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George Mehler
George Mehler
1340 Activity Points

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