Unit Overview

In Mosa Mack's Matter and Its Interactions unit, students progress through three inquiry-based lessons that focus on defining matter, understanding the states of matter, exploring physical properties and chemical changes.

  • Lesson 1
    Lesson 1: Get to the Bottom of a Toy's Matter Scam

    Get to the Bottom of a Toy's Matter Scam

    Students work together to complete a Matter and Its Interactions Vocabulary Mind Map before helping Felix and JoJo solve the mystery of the missing Ralf - the world's first slime bot. By the end of The Solve, students will discover that it's not magic causing Ralf Snax to turn into slime - but a simple chemical reaction. (40-75 mins)

  • Lesson 2
    Lesson 2: Identify Mystery Substances

    Identify Mystery Substances

    Students determine which mystery matter they have received from a Mars mission by executing multiple physical properties tests. Over the course of multiple days, students will investigate the following physical properties; color, electrical conductivity, magnetism and solubility. They will use evidence from their investigations to support their findings. (200 minutes)

  • Lesson 3
    Lesson 3: Separate Matter

    Separate Matter

    Students will work to separate a mixture and use physical properties to identify each component of the mixture. (250 mins)

  • Next Generation Science Standards
    Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. [Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence supporting a model could include adding air to expand a basketball, compressing air in a syringe, dissolving sugar in water, and evaporating salt water.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the atomic scale mechanism of evaporation and condensation or defining the unseen particles.]
    Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved. [Clarification Statement: Examples of reactions or changes could include phase changes, dissolving, and mixing that form new substances.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include distinguishing mass and weight.]
    Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. [Clarification Statement: Examples of materials to be identified could include baking soda and other powders, metals, minerals, and liquids. Examples of properties could include color, hardness, reflectivity, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, response to magnetic forces, and solubility; density is not intended as an identifiable property.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include density or distinguishing mass and weight.]
    Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
  • Inquiry Scale
    • Each lesson in the unit has an Inquiry Scale that provides directions on how to implement the lesson at the level that works best for you and your students.
    • “Level 1” is the most teacher-driven, and recommended for students in 4th-5th grades. “Level 4” is the most student-driven, and recommended for students in 7th-8th grades.
    • For differentiation within the same grade or class, use different inquiry levels for different groups of students who may require additional support or an extra challenge.
  • Common Misconceptions
    • Students may think that when a chemical or physical change occurs that matter or mass may be lost in the process. Emphasize the Law of Conservation of Mass - matter cannot be created or destroyed, but it can change forms.
    • Learners initially think that the chemical changes happen when you mix two substances together (like adding lemonade powder to water). Emphasize to students that a chemical change is the interaction of two substances to form an entirely new substance.
    • Students may think that when you add heat to a substance, you cause a chemical change. Emphasize that heat can cause a chemical change in some instances such as toasting bread or cooking. Yet, not all changes involving heat result in chemical changes such as melting chocolate or boiling water.
    • Relatedly, students often think that all physical changes are reversible like ice melting or salt being added to water. However, it is important to emphasize to students that many physical changes are not easily reversible such as breaking a large rock into smaller pieces or cracking an egg.
  • Vocabulary
      • Particle
      • Chemical Change
      • Physical Property
      • Matter
      • Mixture
  • Leveled Reading

    * To give our users the most comprehensive science resource, Mosa Mack is piloting a partnership with RocketLit, a provider of leveled science articles.

    • Waiting For Water

      In this article, students read about the basics of fluids and their behaviors. They read about the basics of flow, fluid, condensation and the attractive forces that hold things together in liquids and solids.

    • Solid!

      This article explores the formation and structure of a solid. Students will look at the concept of a repeating pattern and the lattices that hold together all of the building blocks that make up a solid.

    • If I Freeze or Boil You, You Won't Change?

      In this article, students read about the difference between a chemical change and a physical change. They learn that in a physical change, a substance will change the way it looks, but this won't change what it is.

    • It's Not Magic . . . It's Just a Phase

      In this article, students investigate the concepts of freezing point, boiling point, and melting point through a magic trick. They'll read about how a magician makes water change phase through heating and cooling at each of these temperatures.

    • Matter Changes

      With a little more or a little less heat, everything can change. In this article, we explore how heat changes matter from solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.

    • Gas - The Crazy Kids

      In this article, students will explore the properties of gases. They will look how these molecules independently move and collide. The article also discusses how volume and pressure in a gas can change.