PROPERTIES

Unit Overview

Through the use of the skills of observing, classifying, and communicating students will investigate the properties of objects. Students will observe and describe objects by their color, shape, texture, size, weight, and ability to sink or float. Students will observe that objects can exist in different forms and that solids, liquids, and gases are objects. A variety of teaching strategies are incorporated in this unit. The science skills emphasized in Properties are collecting data, manipulating, observing, and predicting.

Scheduling

This unit may take nine weeks to complete depending upon the goals of the teacher and interests of the students. Use of the section included in this manual called More Ideas may extend the time span of this kit.

Materials to be obtained locally in addition to other items required by each Learning Experience:

Please make one student activity book for each student. (Please see PDF)

chart paper

felt tip markers

paper towels

water

common objects from the schoolyard such as leaves, rocks, grass, and sticks

common objects from classroom such as: student scissors, teacher scissors, crayon, stapler, chalkboard eraser, unused piece of chalk

common objects made from one material

common objects made from more than one material

Caution

Remind students to wash their hands after handling any of the materials in the kit. Small objects should be handled with care.

About the Format

Each learning experience is numbered and titled. Under each title is the objective for the learning experience.

Each learning experience page has two parts. The first part lists materials, preparations, basic skill processes, evaluation strategy, and vocabulary. The evaluation strategy is for the teacher to use when judging the student’s understanding of the learning experience.

The second part begins with a “Focus Question” which is typed in italicized print. The purpose of the “Focus Question” is to guide the teacher’s instruction toward the main idea of the learning experience. The “Focus Question” is not to be answered by the students. The learning experience includes direction for students, illustrations, and discussion questions. These discussion questions can be used as a basis for class interaction.

Background Information

The skill of classifying involves arranging into categories, objects, or events according to method. The method may include sorting, grouping, or labeling in terms of similarities/differences or properties such as form and function. An outcome of classifying information can be the identification of patterns.

Properties

A property in this set of learning experiences is defined as any attribute, feature, aspect trait, characteristic, or essential quality of a living or non-living thing. In science, objects and material may have distinctive properties. The properties of an object are determined by the object's material and the condition of the material, including its color, weight/mass, shape, size or texture. The space occupied by an object determines a property of the object. A grain of sand, a toy ball, or the school building, or the shape, such as round (ball-like), flat, or box-like could illustrate the concept of the shape of an object.

Properties of objects based on the objects' materials

Some properties of an object are dependent upon the material from which the object is made. Different kinds of materials have different properties. For example, color, weight, texture hardness, brightness, reflectiveness (mirrors) to light, sound, and heat, transparency to light or sound – (when struck, plucked, or vibrated) can all be properties of objects and the material from which it is made.

Material may be divided into smaller parts or changed in shape without changing the properties of the materials. Molding clay, crushing stone, or cutting wood may change the shape of the object but not the property of the material.

An object, which is composed of two or more different materials that have been mixed, may have some properties like each of the original materials and some new properties. Examples of these are green paint – formed from mixture of yellow and blue paint, sugar water – formed from sugar cube and water, or whipped cream – formed from cream, sugar, vanilla, and air.

Properties of objects based on an event

The properties of an object can be changed by an event in which the object is involved. Some objects fall through a fluid (sink) while others are supported by it (float). Floating or sinking depends upon the properties of objects. The shape of the object, the position of the object (face up or face down), the weight of the object, or the type of material in the object can be properties that influence floating or sinking of the object. Under particular conditions most materials are solids, liquids, or gases. For example, water is ice at temperatures below freezing, liquid at room temperature, or steam at boiling point.

Classification

Putting objects into groups based upon shared properties (single or combination) is an example of classification. Putting objects in serial order by property is another example.

Matter

Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space.

Mass

Mass is the amount of matter in an object. It is generally measured in grams or kilograms.

Weight

Weight is a measure of the gravitational pull on an object. It is generally measured in ounces or pounds.

Property Words

The following lists are descriptive words for properties of some objects and materials.

Descriptive words for size

mass

weight

light

heavy

small

large

little

big

least

most

Descriptive words for shape

oval

square

rectangle

triangle

heart

round

circle

star

octagon

diamond

hexagon

octagon

cube

Descriptive words for colors

blue

red

pink

yellow

white

black

purple

green

orange

light purple

Descriptive words for texture

rough

smooth

sharp

shiny

Descriptive words for materials

wood

aluminum

metal

oak

brass

plastic

mahogany

steel

grainy

walnut

acrylic

flexible

pine

sawdust

powder

vinegar

cooking oil

liquid starch

water

Descriptive words for gases

colorless

invisible

odorless

tasteless

air

helium

liquid

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