Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2004


Joyce Fruchter

Yeshivah of Flatbush High School

Brooklyn, NY




How do we study matter?




In keeping with National Standards:

            Teaching Standards A and B

            Science Education Standards A, B, and D


Objective:  Students will recognize physical properties of matter.

                   Students will be introduced to chemical properties of matter.


Do Now:  1-Define matter.

                 2-List three examples of matter.

                 3-Describe each of your examples.


Materials: two bottles labeled A and B (A contains water;  B contains alcohol), two jars labeled C and D (C contains sulfur;  D contains Na2CrOor any other yellow, soluble substance), two strips of metal E and F(E is Al and F is Pb), two test tubes, water, test tube rack, scoopulas


Aim:  How do we study matter?


Divide students into groups of 2 or 3.  Ask students to describe and compare A and B.  What properties have they observed?




Ask students to describe and compare C and D.  What properties have they observed?  What else might be done to distinguish between them?  (If it students cannot think of an approach elicit solubility.)  Have students test the materials.




Ask students to describe and compare E and F.  What properties have they observed?




When students have completed their work a summary of the properties can be reviewed using the mnemonic SCODS (state, color, odor, density, solubility).  List these on the board under Physical Properties.


Ask are there any other physical properties of matter?

Elicit:  boiling point, melting point

Include these on your list.





How else do we study matter?


Materials:  Bottle A and B as above, two watch glasses, mossy Zn, HCl, test tube, test tube rack


Elicit:  chemical properties


This can be demonstrated by pouring a small amount of  liquid A and B into two separate watch glasses and holding a match to each.  (Use necessary safety precautions)



Additionally, demonstrate the addition of mossy Zn to a test tube containing HCl.

Formation of bubbles (a gas)


List burning, formation of bubbles under Chemical Properties on the board.


Further Study:

For each of the following, label the description as P, physical or C, chemical:


1-burning coal

2-melting gold

3-white paper

4-boils at 100oC at sea level

5-smell of rotten eggs



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