# Classifying Matter. reflect. look out!

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1 reflect Do you know what air, water, and an apple all have in common? They are all examples of matter. Matter is a word we use a lot in science. It means stuff. All of the stuff in the world that has mass and takes up space is called matter. There is solid stuff like an apple. There is liquid stuff like water. There is also gas stuff like the air in a balloon. What other examples of matter can you see around you right now? An apple is a solid, water is a liquid, and the air in a balloon is a gas. What are the properties of matter? The matter around us has many properties. Properties help us to describe and compare different types of matter. Think of properties as ways of describing the things around us. Are they big or small, hot or cold, heavy or light? Here are some basic properties of matter: Size: Matter can be very big like the planet Earth or very small like a tiny piece of dust. Mass: An object can contain a lot of matter for example, a brick. An object can contain very little matter for example, an empty box. The brick has more mass than the empty box, even if they are the same size. Volume: Matter can take up a lot of space like the ocean or just a little space like a snowflake. The ocean has more volume than the snowflake. Temperature: Matter can be hot like lava or cold like ice. The lava has a higher temperature than the ice. This thermometer in the picture measures the temperature of this liquid. look out! It is important to remember that some matter is difficult to observe. For example, we sometimes forget that air is matter because it is invisible and hard to feel. Even though we can t see air, it takes up space. When we blow into a balloon, we can watch the balloon get bigger. That s evidence we can use to show air really has mass! 1

2 Another thing to remember is that not all solids are hard solids like a table or a brick. Some solids can be soft. Touch the clothes you are wearing right now. Are your clothes a solid, liquid, or gas? Even though something feels soft and moves around, it is still a solid. what do you think? Look at the two pictures below. The picture on the left is a shadow of someone on a bike. The picture on the right is a boy riding a bike. Which of these pictures is an example of matter? Why do you think this? What is the state of matter in the picture on the right? How can you measure the shadow? How can you measure the bike? How do we measure matter? There are many different ways to measure matter. Let s use an apple as an example of matter. The apple can be weighed on the scale, as shown in the picture. A ruler can be used to measure the height and width of the apple. How can you measure how much space the apple takes up? Place the apple in a tub of water and watch how much the water level rises. A thermometer can be used to measure the temperature of the apple. What are other ways an apple can be measured? How can we compare and contrast matter? Sometimes we need to compare different types of matter. But how do we do that? We can ask a few questions to help us think about matter: What is the state of matter? (Is it a solid, liquid, or gas?) Does the matter sink or does it float? (What do we notice when we put the matter in water?) Is the matter magnetic? (Does the matter stick to a magnet?) These paperclips are magnetic. They stick to the magnet. 2

3 try now Let s think about matter by comparing two everyday items. 1. Get two cans of cola: A can of diet cola and a can of regular cola. (Use the same brand of cola that are the same size. Do not open the cans of cola.) 2. Fill a large tub with water. 3. Put the regular can of cola in the water and record what you see. (Does it sink or float?) 4. Place the diet can of cola in the water and record what you see. (Does it sink or float?) 5. What did you notice about the cans of cola? 6. Why do you think there was a difference between the two cans? Career Corner: Chemist Chemists are scientists who study matter. These women and men think about the smallest parts of matter called atoms and molecules. Making careful measurements and closely observing their experiments is very important to chemists. Chemists understand how to combine matter in different ways and how different things react when you combine them. They make new types of matter that help us solve problems. For example, a chemist might make a new type of glue or medicine. They do this by testing different combinations of materials. What Do You Know? We can compare and contrast different types of matter. Use the Box and T-Chart on the next page to compare and contrast a ruler and a paperclip. How are they similar? How are they different? Make sure to include the following in your answer: What is the state of matter? Is it magnetic or not? Does it sink or float? 3

4 Wood Ruler Paperclip How are they the same? How is the ruler different? Think about what happens when it is placed in water. Think about how it reacts to a magnet. How is the paperclip different? Think about how what happens when it is placed in water. Think about how it reacts to a magnet. 4

5 connecting with your child Measuring the Matter Around Us It is very important for elementary students to develop an understanding of matter. Young learners typically have an understanding of solids and liquids as matter, but they may need some support in grasping that air is also matter. Your child may also struggle to understand that soft solids like powder, cloth, and paper are solids. Your child has been learning about the properties of matter. Provide them with some opportunities to measure the following properties: Size (Use a ruler to measure height, width, and length.) Mass (At this level, it is appropriate to measure weight.) Volume (It is easier to measure powders and liquids than solids.) Temperature (Use a thermometer or record whether something feels warm or cool to the touch, exercising caution not to burn yourself.) Pick some safe household objects (milk, sugar, paperclips, water, ice cubes, cloth, paper, etc.), and help your child determine the state of matter, whether the object is magnetic, and whether the object sinks or floats. Help your child understand that all states of water solid, liquid, and gas are water. The water particles are the same in each state, but the way those particles move around are different depending on whether they are being heated or cooled. Here are some questions to discuss with your child: How is all matter similar? How can we compare different types of matter? What are some ways to measure matter? Is matter? (Show some examples that are not matter such as a shadow, heat, light, love, etc. to see if your child understands this concept.) Provide your child opportunities to measure and compare types of matter based on the properties listed above. Your child should also use the following questions to compare types of matter: What is the state of matter? (Is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas?) Is the matter magnetic? (Does the matter stick to a magnet?) Does the matter sink or float? (What do we notice when we put the matter in water?) 5

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