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Sample from the K-5 Resource CD:

On-line Resources

K-5 Science Teachers Online Resource

for Teaching

Ohio's New Science Standards

Planning Curriculum

First Grade Unit

"Properties of Materials and Motion"

The following is a description of a possible first grade unit, "Properties of Materials and Motion". This is only one suggestion for teaching a standards-based unit on physical science.

Click on the Instructional Component for the Unit that you would like to view:

Observing Materials and Their Properties
Changing the Properties of Materials
Materials and Motion
Energy Around Us

Instructional Components of the Unit

Observing Materials and Their Properties

Students will expand their understanding of properties of materials which they learned in kindergarten. The teacher can assess the students' understanding of properties by having students classify objects according to the materials they are made of and their physical properties. (Indicator #1 - Physical Science) Once the students demonstrate this understanding, the next step is to have students explore how the properties of materials can change. The most common method is to investigate that water can change form a liquid to a solid or solid to a liquid. (Indicator #2 - Physical Science) By observing these changes in the properties of water firsthand, students are introduced to the fact that a material can change its properties.



Published Resources

Solids and Liquids - FOSS Module

Solids and Liquids - STC Module

Investigating Water - DSM II Module

Properties - DSM II Module

The Senses - Insights Module

Liquids - Insights Module

Material Objects - SCIS 3+ Module

Investigating Properties - BSCS Sci T.R.A.C.S.

Liquid Explorations - GEMS Guide

Vol. 11, No. 9 - AIMS Magazine

Activity Title
Pouring Over Matter

Vol. 13, No. 1 - AIMS Magazine

Activity Title
The Great Cookie Mix-Up

Web Links

Classifying Matter Lesson

List One Kind of Material

Warm and Chilly Cubes

The Great ice Cube Melt Race

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Changing the Properties of Materials

Next, students can explore and observe that things can be done to materials to change their properties (e.g., heating, freezing, mixing, cutting, wetting, dissolving, bending, exposing to light). (Indicator #3 - Physical Science) Students should be given multiple opportunities to investigate the various ways that the properties of materials can be changed. The more experiences the students have, the deeper their understanding will be about this concept.

Students should also explore changes that greatly change the properties of an object (e.g., burning paper) and changes that leave the properties largely unchanged (e.g., tearing paper). (Indicator #4 - Physical Science) By introducing students to this idea, students are gaining the conceptual foundation for understanding physical and chemical changes later. Again, the more their experiences are reinforced, the better the understanding for this important concept.


Published Resources

Changes - STC Module

Material Objects - SCIS 3+ Module

Winter Wonders - AIMS Manual

Activity Title
Frosty Forms
Room for Change
Homemade Ice Cream

Web Links

Effects of Physical Changes

Physical Effects on Objects Made of One Material

Zip-Loc Ice Cream

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Materials and Motion

At the completion of kindergarten, students should have been introduced to how objects are put into motion. In first grade this concept is reinforced by allowing students to investigate a variety of ways to make things move and what causes them to change speed, direction and/or stop. (Indicator #6 - Physical Science) Students should be given the freedom to explore all of these various components of motion in a variety of unique ways. There are many activities which allow students to explore this concept. This introductory understanding of force and motion is essential to the future conceptual understanding dealing with force and how it relates to motion.

A very engaging way for students to investigate force and motion is to explore the effects of some objects on others even when the two objects might not touch (e.g., magnets). (Indicator #5 - Physical Science) Students can explore how magnets can move each other by pushing each other away at their like poles. They can also move magnets can move each other by putting one on the top of the desk and one on the bottom or just separate them by a sheet of paper. By exploring this motion caused by the the magnets attracting each other, students can see how one magnet is pulling the other to make it move.


Published Resources

Balance and Motion - FOSS Module

Balls and Ramps - Insights Module

Interaction and Systems - SCIS 3+ Module

Web Links

Force and Motion Lessons and Activities

Magnet Lessons and Resources

Magnetism Activities

Using Air to Move Things

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Energy Around Us

Once students have a basic understanding of how objects can move, they can begin to explore energy. First graders do not need to understand the complexities of energy. They need to begin to recognize what energy is and what forms that energy can be found. There will be a natural transition from exploring motion to understanding what is required to make something move or create a force.

To begin exploring energy, students can discuss how the sun is a source of energy for us. Students can draw pictures of how they think the sun provides energy for us and the things on the earth. After they do this, the class can share the pictures and discuss some students drawings. The teacher should also be sure to focus them on what is expected to be understood about the sun's energy. Students need to understand that the sun's energy warms the land, air and water. (Indicator #8 - Physical Science) This concept can be investigated by measuring the temperature of a puddle or glass of water in the sun or the temperature of the ground as the sun shines on it.

Once the sun is understood as an energy source, students can move on to explore other sources of energy. Here students can draw or find pictures of things that move or do something (i.e., toys, cars, people) and either write or tell what makes each thing "run" or "work." They should focus on things which they are familiar with such as food, batteries, electricity, and gasoline. (Indicator #9 - Physical Science)

Lastly, students can make the connection of how energy makes things work. This by no means expects students to understand the complexities of how energy makes things work, it just expects them to explore examples of how energy can make things work in different ways. Such as, batteries in a toy car make the wheels go around and make the car move or electricity makes the blades of a fan turn and make a breeze. This can be an informal discussion within the class and may not be a formal lesson. (Indicator #7 - Physical Science)



Published Resources

Primarily Physics - AIMS Manual

Activity Title
What is Energy (Fact Sheet)

Web Links

Energy Story

Solar Heat Experiment

Materials that Absorb Solar Energy

Energy and Science Projects For Students

Energy & Science Lesson Plans


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