Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

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The Web pages targeted from this guide provide content material, activities, lesson plans, assessments, or interactive sites for use by teachers and students, broken into appropriate age-level categories. They align with the National Science Education Standards (NSES).

NSES Physical Science Content Standard B includes three main parts for grades 5-8:

  1. Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter
  2. Motions and Forces, and
  3. Transfer of Energy.

This web guide focuses on the first of these three parts, Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter.

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Reviews (10)
  • on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:13 AM

SciGuides are really fantastic. When it's time to teach physical science, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:39 PM

This Sci Guide is one of the most beneficial resources that I have seen in my years of teaching. It allows me to create lesson plans that motivate and engage my students through variety of experiments and hands on activities. The guide is very essential in presenting the difference between physical and chemical changes in matter because of the examples of which students of all ages can do. The availability of the resources is one of the things that excites me because most of them can be found in our own kitchen. There were articles about changes in matter that students can read and relate to. One of them is the seat belt being a friend or a foe, something that everybody has a background knowledge of. The links that lead to various sources also have important role in helping students to understand concepts about properties and changes of properties in Matter. Excellent resources!!!

Angelina Cruz
Angelina Cruz

  • on Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:12 AM

Very informative, this sci-guide is a wealth of ideas in making lessons for students both in the middle school and those from classes in high school that have students with various challenges. It has both the volume and the depth needed to enhance the knowledge of students on physical science in order to prepare them to chemistry and physics in the later year. Studying properties and the changes these properties undergo in matter is one of the key concepts in physical science.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:53 PM

This sci guide is organized in three main categories: building blocks of matter, changes in property (both physical and chemical), and characteristic properties (both physical and chemical). Each section has a wealth of websites that include lesson plans, labs, and online interactive activities. I particularly like the experiment called the dirtmeister's science lab. This has the lessons an, materials list, and post lab questions needed to do an experiment with a colloidal suspension to explore the nature o f solids liquids and gases. I was surprised to see that some of the links associated with this sci guide were inactive. This sci guide has a lot of material but if you are looking for high school material, the focus is for a younger audience. Some of the lessons seem adaptable where others are simply meant for middle school students.

Jason Ward
Jason Ward

  • on Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:37 PM

The Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter SciGuide is an outstanding resource for any teacher looking for online resources for their students to be more self-directed learners. I will definitely be applying the online resources to research projects or games to hone their skills in their down time. The SciGuide also contains various labs to implement in the classroom to involve tactile learners, audio learners and visual learners alike. I had recently heard of the cornstarch lab but neglected to write it out after a discussion with a peer. I believe this lab is a great "buy-in" lesson for students at the beginning of the year. The only concern I have for this SciGuide maybe out of the hands of the creator and probably more directed and the tech staff. There were a few links/hyperlinks that were not working. Otherwise, the Sciguides contained everything an educator would need to improve their classroom; Lesson plans with teacher descriptions, student samples, and web resources.

James Bright
James Bright

  • on Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:47 AM

This sciguide gives the reader a short and informative preview of what the topic is about. It also includes various real world examples that connect the scientific concept. For example talking about the change of property of frying an egg. Which then includes various already made simulations, articles and online activities. I would use the, online activities to have students practice being familiar with the periodic table, recognizing the chemical names, symbols and location of the element on the table. I would link the web resources to my developing class website. I would also use one of the atom websites, which includes a simulation of particle movement in an atom. I would like to see a resource that breaks down a real world example and explains or shows from larger visual size and moves into microscopic or molecules of the example. An average size egg, then (in a flow chart), the molecules that make up a yolk, then the atoms.

Kristal Ann
Kristal Ann

  • on Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:47 AM

This SciGuide is about the properties of matter (both chemical and physical), and how those properties can change. I enjoy this SciGuide because it includes a lot of activities that expressly addresses density which is a profoundly important concept when dealing with ocean chemistry: hot liquids (which are less dense) can contain more dissolved gases (like carbon dioxide, which plays a significant role in ocean acidification), cold liquids (which is more dense) contains more nutrients. Moreover, density lays the foundation for how convection currents work in the mantle as well as wind and ocean currents. It was its focus on density that drew me to it, I especially like the layered salt-water column in a straw activity. However, I’m not too big of a fan of the old :density of differently sized objects of different masses” activity that it has. Outside of being the standard go-to to teach density, my biggest problem with this is that it doesn’t really get to the fundamental concepts of how density works with matter. It stays at the surface Size = volume. Mass = grams of an object. That’s true, but what about fluids, which can have more matter stuffed into a given volume. Matter you can’t see, and isn’t expressly obvious as a steel ball versus a lead one. It also annoys me that it ignores how volume of an object changes based on its temperature which in turn changes its density. This is the very reason why water is so precious to life on Earth. However, this SciGuide did convince me that I should include density as part of my instruction. The water column in a straw is a wonderful activity, though. It helps students realize that density of a liquid can change when material is added to the liquid (like salt). The volume of the liquid changes when temperature is change, thus resulting in a changed density (my own addition to the experiment). Another key chemical connection, is that dissolving salt in water is possible because both are polar compounds. But, water can only hold so much, which leads to supersaturation, crystal formation, metamorphic rocks, and sedimentary rocks. The other activities are simply outstanding and should be included in any middle school science class just out of principle. They provide concrete experiences for key concepts that any student should understand regardless of their future plans.

Angelo Laskowsky  (wahiawa, hawaii)
Angelo Laskowsky (wahiawa, hawaii)

  • on Sat May 05, 2012 10:55 PM

The first thing I liked about this sciguide was the lesson plan Its Elementary, My Dear Class. I liked this lesson because it got the students to become involved in noticing trends in the periodic table. It was interactive and got the students up and involved music. It got them thinking about the elements all around them in their lives. The other great thing was the technology component where the students researched elements on-line. This is the kind of thing that makes these sciguides great. I really like the element games from Jefferson Labs. I have heard so much from the community forums about oobleck. It was great to find a complete lesson plan about Oobleck, Glurch, and Goop. Hey this is the kind of thing that kids will remember their whole lives. They’ll get messy and they’ll learn about change of properties. I also found a website that has a lesson where the students get to make their own ice cream. Sounds like fun. And Dirtmeister’s science lab also makes a mess and a change in property. And there is another interesting lesson plan about density, mass and volume. This is similar to a lesson I recently taught, but this one gave me some good ideas to enhance my lesson. I liked the Chem4Kids quiz. I found an intriguing site from PBS about chromatography and its uses in crime solving. And if any of my students were involved in the international boiling point project, we would be the first from Hawaii. I also liked the PBSKids Science Rocks lesson on water density. I thought the visual elements periodic table was pretty interesting. And I liked the site with the lesson about the properties of water. All in all this was an interesting sciguide. It was not as rich in resources as some, but it did have some nice lesson plans. I can’t wait to try the oobleck lab. And I want the kids to make ice cream. I give this sciguide a 4 out of 5.

Vincent Lowery
Vincent Lowery

  • on Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:29 AM

Although listed for grades 5-8, this SciGuide is appropriate for a high school level conceptual physics course (for regular level or lower level math students). This is an excellent collection of resources, including animations like the model of an atom on There are many student-friendly, fun interactive activities for students to learn the periodic table, examples: Welcome to “It’s elemental” flash cards, element crossword puzzles, element concentration games, etc. I could use the many interactives to have students practice the element symbols and properties, and the organization of the periodic table. Students can also use these websites as self-study or review before tests. Overall I liked this SciGuide, lots of interesting websites for students to learn about atoms, physical and chemical changes, and the physical and chemical properties of matter, and the periodic table.


  • on Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:54 PM

I thought this SciGuide was good. I used some of the lessons but had to modify it a bit. The lessons itself takes a lot of time to complete and with us having to stay on pace, it makes it difficult to squeeze in. Also, some of the links didn't work. One lesson, the Building blocks of matter had a link to go to to complete one of the lessons. It looked interesting but I couldn't go to the actual site that the students would have to go to. The physical properties of matter focused more on density, which I thought was pretty good. Overall, I think if a lot of the links on this sciguide worked, it would be a good one for me to follow.

Jean  W
Jean W

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