Characteristics of Matter

Mattie Drane Crown Academy

2128 S. St. Louis

Chicago IL 60623

(773) 534-1680


The objectives of this lesson are for primary and intermediate graders to examine the relationships among gravity, weight, and mass, the metric measurement of distance and volume, and density and its application to physical properties.

Materials Needed:

These materials can be used for groups of four.

Strategy 1

3 plastic zip-up bags

Small block of wood

1 cup water


Strategy 2

Test tube

Short candle and matches

Metal tongs

Unpopped popcorn

Cooking oil



These materials can be used for a class of 24.

Strategy 3

Bottle of pop



Strategy 1:

  1. Classroom discussion about matter.
  2. Put the block of wood in one bag and a cup of water in another bag.
  3. Blow air into the third bag and zip it shut quickly.
  4. Examine the contents of each bag and answer questions about them.

 Strategy 2:

  1. Set the candle on aluminum foil.
  2. Put a drop of cooking oil and one popcorn seed in the test tube. Cover it with an aluminum foil circle.
  3. Light the candle and hold the test tube above the flame at an angle pointed away from everyone’s face. Do not let the test tube touch the flame.
  4. Move the test tube back and forth so the seed doesn’t burn.
  5. When the seed pops, put out the flame and let it cool. Remove the seed.

Strategy 3:

Open up a bottle of soda pop and set it on a table. Immediately slip the end of a balloon over the neck of the bottle. Pull the balloon’s end well down over the bottle so that it fits tightly. Check on the balloon about every 10 minutes for any changes.

Performance Assessment:


Frank, Marjorie (1990). 202 Science Investigation. Incentive Publication, Inc., Nashville, TN.

Perry, Phyllis J., & Rillero, Peter, Ph. D. (1996). 365 Science Projects & Activities. Publication International, Ltd, 7373 North Cicero Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois 60646.