2.2.1.1 Describe Physical Properties

Grade: 
2
Subject:
Science
Strand:
Physical Science
Substrand:
Matter
Standard 2.2.1.1

Objects can be described in terms of the materials they are made of and their physical properties.

Benchmark: 2.2.1.1.1 Properties of Objects

Describe objects in terms of color, size, shape, weight, texture, flexibility, strength and the types of materials in the object.

Overview

Standard in Lay Terms 

MN Standard in Lay Terms

Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances. These properties can be measured using tools such as rulers, balances, and thermometers.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea

Students learn about objects by observing them and noting similarities and differences, and by acting on them by applying force.

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks

2.2.1.1.1  Describe objects in terms of color, size, shape, weight, texture, flexibility, strength and the types of materials in the object.

The Essentials

Understanding Properties and Structures is a video designed to increase educators' understanding and teaching of physical science. Participants explore physical science concepts of motion, force, and matter that are part of daily life and learn how to incorporate observation, discourse, and experimentation to increase understanding of physical science by students at the elementary level.

Correlations 

NSES Standards:

Content Standard B

As a result of the activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of Properties of objects and materials.

Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances. These properties can be measured using tools such as rulers, balances, and thermometers.

  • Position and motion of objects
  • Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism

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AAAS Atlas:

  • Objects can be described in terms of their properties. Some properties, such as hardness and flexibility, depend upon what material the object is made of, and some properties, such as size and shape, do not. 4D/P1 (ID: SMS-BMK-0176)

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Benchmarks of Science Literacy:

  • Objects can be described in terms of their properties. Some properties, such as hardness and flexibility, depend upon what material the object is made of, and some properties, such as size and shape, do not. 4D/P1*
  • Things can be done to materials to change some of their properties, but not all materials respond the same way to what is done to them. 4D/P2

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Common Core Standards

Math:

Geometry & Measurement 2.3.1.1

Describe, compare, and classify two- and three-dimensional figures according to number and shape of faces, and the number of sides, edges and vertices (corners).

2.3.2.1

Understand the relationship between the size of the unit of measurement and the number of units needed to measure the length of an object.

2.3.2.2

Understand length as a measurable attribute; use tools to measure length.

Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between length and the numbers on a ruler by using a ruler to measure lengths to the nearest centimeter or inch.

ELA:

The K-2 student...learns best by building understanding from their own actions upon objects and by telling stories about what they did and what they found out.

As they impose their ideas on the world, trying things out to see what will happen (poking, pushing, feeling, etc...), children see the results of their actions and thus come to understand how part of their world works.  If these experiences are connected with language experiences (e.g. talking with students as they explore instead of having a summary discussion after an exploration), primary students will learn how to express what they have learned in clear and accurate terms.

NSTA Pathways

Writing:

2.6.3.3

Write narratives and other creative texts in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

2.6.7.7

Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).

Social Studies:

No direct match

Misconceptions

Student Misconceptions 
  • An important distinction children need to make early on is the difference between an object (with its properties) and the material(s) from which it is made (with their properties).
  • Materials can only exhibit properties of one state of matter.
  • Students tend to classify objects according to their uses rather than their properties.
  • Composite or mixtures of materials cause difficulty for students when they are describing objects.
  • Children often use the word "solid" to mean heavy, not flexible, or in one big piece.
  • Children's experiences are necessarily limited and therefore the evidence is partial, so they may well consider rust to be within metals if they have only paid attention to it when it appears under paint or flaking chrome.

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Vignette

From: Lowery, L. F., (1997). NSTA Pathways to the Science Standards (Elementary). Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Gloria Chin's classroom has a variety of objects in sets that can be grouped or sorted.  These have a number of characteristics, such as color, shape, size, texture, diameter, and length.  Students sort the objects into groups based on some of these characteristics or put them in order according to size or length.  There are enough sets so that each student is able to work alone.

The beginning sets of materials include keys, buttons, feathers, pasta of different shapes, paint sample strips, nuts and bolts, and beans.  Advance sets of material (leaves, seeds, shells, nuts, rocks, dowels of different diameters and dowels of different lengths) expose students to content related to the science, such as leaf characteristics.

While the students are sorting their objects, Ms. Chin observes them and asks about the way they are making the groupings. She understands that, at this level, the ability to communicate ideas is critical.  Many of her students are at the early stage of understanding classification and will group objects mainly by a single characteristic or will arrange the pieces to make a house, a group of people, or some symbolic representation.

Ms. Chin moves around the room and watches and listens to the children as they make decisions.  She keeps anecdotal notes on each child.  You might hear her ask such question as: "Can you put the ones that go together into piles? Tell me how you decide where to put this piece."

 

Resources

Instructional Notes 

Suggested Labs and Activities

Teacher Notes:

As we deal with observing things and describing them, it is important to realize that there is an important difference between a material and an object. If you will picture in your mind a cast iron skillet, that should help clarify the difference. "Cast iron" is the material. "Skillet" is the object. Materials are the "stuff" aspect of things.

Science: Solids

Students investigate the properties of solids and discover how to classify them. Using rulers, they measure various solids on display. In groups, they play an identification game where one students names a location, such as the beach, and the others name solids found there. Finally, students make solid objects from modeling clay.

Describing Properties

In this lesson, students learn to further describe the properties of different objects. They also classify objects according to their properties.

Reading a Thermometer (three minute video)

The CyberSquad must figure out how to read a thermometer and determine the temperature in order to keep the chocolate sculpture from melting.

A Simple Balance (two minute video)

In this video segment from Cyberchase, the CyberSquad is attempting to save Sensible Flats from disaster. In order to do this, they have to balance a scale using two weights.

Sorting Objects

Teachers and students will discuss how things can be sorted by their physical properties.

Describe It!

In this lesson, the teacher gives hands-on examples to students in how to describe objects by color, size, shape, texture, smell, and taste. Describe it 

Properties of Matter

Students investigate how objects can be described, classified, and compared by their composition. They recognize that the same material can exist in different states. Students verify that things can be done to materials to change their physical properties.

Grouping and Classifying materials

This site contains many (too numerous to list) excellent PDFs and ready-made documents that can be used with the teaching of materials and their characteristics. Highly recommend checking it out.

Materials and Manufacturing

Students will look at different kinds of materials; to identify the properties of materials and their suitability for different purposes.

Characteristics of Rocks and Minerals

Students are divided into groups and given a study tour. They discover the characteristics of rocks and minerals, how rocks and minerals are identified and classified, and the chemical properties of these rocks and minerals.

Mixtures of Matter

Students experiment with solids and liquids. In this mixtures of matter lesson, students combine matter to form solutions. Students hypothesize, test, and analyze the data to draw conclusions. The lesson can be extended by having students create and work with oobleck.

Weight and Balance using Rocks

Students measure a variety of rocks in composition and size using balances. 

Oooh - Ahhh - Science Club!

Students create a mixture and predict what it will be and what properties it will have. In this putty making lesson, students understand the properties of the magic putty that they've created. Students watch as the putty changes from a liquid to a solid.

Describing Things

Describe the listed objects on the chart, by shape, color and material.

Describe It!

The students are given objects and think of words to tell about their object.  Make a list on chart paper prior to let them know to think of size, color, shape, etc.

Identifying and describing materials

Students will name the types of materials the different objects were made from: wood, metal, plastic, fabric, rock, paper, and glass.  They then will identify further examples of each material in the classroom.

Sorting and Using Materials

In this describing objects worksheet, students color six pictures of common objects. Students read the 16 describing words in a word bank and write the words that fit each picture in the box underneath each one.

What's the Texture?

This is a small group activity in which students sort, classify, and write about how they sort a variety of shells.

As a "Matter" of Fact

Students study matter. In this science lesson plan, students compare some properties of solids, liquids, and gases, describe how matter changes from one state to another, and classify instruments used to measure various forms of matter.

New Vocabulary 

Vocabulary/Glossary

Balance scale: a device that measures the weight of objects. Context: We used the balance scale to compare the weight of the rocks.

Color: a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects. Context: We sorted our objects into groups of red, green and yellow.

Interactions: a relationship between two or more organisms or things. Context: Mixing the baking soda and water caused an explosive interaction!

Mixture: a combination of two or more distinct substances that retain their individual properties. Context: Mixtures can be separated by physical means.

Phase: A stage of development. Context: We put all of the plants that were in the flowering phase together.

Rulers: a measuring stick consisting of a strip of wood or metal or plastic with a straight edge that is used for drawing straight lines and measuring lengths. Context: We used a ruler to measure the length of the book.

Texture: the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface. Context: Soil has a sandy texture.

Thermometer: An instrument for measuring temperature. Context: We used the thermometer to find out how hot/cold it was outside.

Technology Connections 

Understanding Properties and Structures

A resource designed to increase educators' understanding and teaching of physical science. Participants explore physical science concepts of motion, force, and matter that are part of daily life and learn how to incorporate observation, discourse, and experimentation to increase the understanding of physical science by students at the elementary level.

Interactive activities for K-2

Fun for students yet full of useful resources for teachers.

Properties of Materials

Learn about the properties of materials as you experiment with a variety of objects in this great science activity for kids.  Test the properties of metal, paper, fabric, rubber, and glass before using a blueprint to make objects from the different materials.

Characteristics of Materials

Students examine everyday materials by utilizing educational software.  Students participate in a computer activity in which they view close up photographs of these materials and identify which materials they are.

Promethean/SMARTboard Activities

Characteristics of Materials

Through this unit, children should extend their knowledge of the range of materials we use and of the properties that characterize them. This knowledge should help them recognize what needs to be considered when a material is chosen for a particular use. 

Transparent, Translucent, Opaque

A flipchart review of materials that are transparent, translucent, and opaque.

States of Matter

This flipchart describes the three states of matter and how materials can change through heating and cooling. 

Thermometers flipchart

If you are teaching your students how to read a thermometer, you should download this extensive new resource pack.  It includes 86 resources including an interactive flash thermometer, a dial thermometer with a "hand" that moves, and 72 hand-drawn images of Fahrenheit thermometers.

Keeping Warm flipchart

Through this unit, children build their ideas about temperature as a measure of how hot or cold objects are and learn about thermal insulators as materials which can help to keep things warm or cool.

Measuring All Around Us flipchart

Students will explore the standard unit of inches by using an on-screen ruler to measure the height and width of different objects.

Measurement, Measurement, Measurement

This flipchart provides interactive measurement resources for length, capacity, weight, time, and temperature. There are some helpful online activities for each area as well. It also contains an Activote session at the end.

Materials of Objects (SMART notebook)

Sort objects by their materials: fabric, wood, plastic, metal, glass.

Earth's Materials

This is a notebook of all the earth's materials and what they are used for.

Matter Really Matters (SMART notebook)

Describing States of Matter and Physical Changes in matter.

Properties of Matter (SMARTboard)

A first lesson in matter unit.

Measurement Review (SMART Notebook lesson)

The intended learning outcomes are practice in measuring time, length, weight, capacity, and temperature.

Using a Ruler

Use this SMART Table activity to show an understanding of measurement.

How to Use a Ruler (Notebook lesson)

Students learn how to use a ruler and record an accurate measurement.

Can we Measure?

This lesson activity presents how to use a ruler correctly.

How is this measured? (SMART Response question set)

Selecting from rulers, thermometers, scales, and cups, students need to find the correct tool to measure the given object.

Assessment

Assessment of Students

At the end of this activity, students should recognize that different objects can be grouped together according to similar properties or attributes.

Have students examine a variety of objects and describe them with words and/or on a chart.

Have students classify objects into groups according to their properties:

Select 4-5 mystery objects that could ultimately be grouped. For example, a life saver and gummy worm are both candy. Tree bark and a flower are both living. Fabric and woven paper are both types of paper and come from trees.  Have students classify them according to their properties.

Packing for the Park

This is an interactive web assessment where students group various objects using their physical characteristics.

Describe the Objects Question set (SMARTboard assessment)

Use the Senteo interactive response system to describe the objects shown.

Assessment of Teachers

How and what do students use to examine and compare objects?

Students mainly using their senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch when they examine their objects and compare them with one another. Although in the real world they would use the sense of taste as well to classify and sort objects.

When scientists use characteristics of objects to group them, what is this called? (Classification)  Why is this process important for scientists?  (It makes things easier to find, identify and study.)

Why is it important for students to learn to sort and classify objects?

It promotes thinking logically and applying rules.  It also provides them with models for organizing things in the real world.

Differentiation

Struggling Learners 

Struggling and At-Risk

Early elementary children are introduced to a variety of hands-on materials in science. This allows them to better conceptualize and understand more abstract scientific topics taught in later elementary grades. The ability to distinguish between an object found in the natural world and an object that has been created or changed by man is a preliminary step in this subject area.

See this page.

Use actual objects to demonstrate the relative nature of size relationships.  For example, show students a small toy car and a book, and ask "Which one is big?" and "Which one is small?"  Remove the car and replace it with a wastebasket, and again ask students to identify which one is big and which is small.  Repeat the procedure with different objects.  As a more difficult task, use picture cards instead of actual objects.

English Language Learners 

Make frequent use of a variety of concrete and visual supports. These might include examples of different ways to classify items: pictures, charts, vocabulary lists, key visuals, posters, and banners.

Describing Things:

This sheet uses very simple language to describe objects.  Students first categorize various adjectives.  Then example sentences are given describing material, usage and also location.

In addition before this unit begins, the teacher should explain to students how we could describe objects by color, size, shape, texture, smell and taste, if appropriate. These headings can be displayed in the classroom, and the students can then use them in their writing when describing objects or places.  This site lists additional activities.

Describing Objects Pictionary Worksheets  

Are you looking for resources to teach or learn English Language?

Here you can find a good collection of worksheets, exercises, lesson-plans, online games, etc.

Extending the Learning 

Students work in pairs to describe objects in terms of attributes.  They record these descriptions so someone else can identify the object using their description.  They make the connection between attributes in objects and traits in living and non-living things.

Students conduct an experiment with three different types of cups to determine which material insulates an ice cube the best.

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What is it that you can touch but cannot feel?  What has no size or shape but still is real? Air!  This is a lesson plan on discovering air and its properties.  This will let the students discover that air displaces, weighs, contains moisture, and yet we cannot feel it.  Or can we?

See this page.

Multi-Cultural 

Educators have often overlooked cultural beliefs and perspectives in science education, however recent research emphasizes the importance of recognizing diversity in the science classroom.  Recognizing diversity facilitates a more active learning experience for the student because it emphasizes understanding in terms of different perspectives, rather than just learning the facts.

The Multicultural Resource Center has a variety of resources available to support multicultural science instruction.  Consider borrowing our musical instruments to investigate the study of sound, using sand paintings and sculptures to illustrate geological properties, and butterfly paintings for biology.  See this page.

Special Education 

Students determine how to describe a familiar item using their senses.  They attempt to describe things as if they are unable to see them.  They chose an item from a bag, create a web of descriptive words, and write a descriptive paragraph.

 

Parents/Admin

Classroom Observation 

Administrators

Since the focus of instruction for Grade 2 is for students to gain an awareness and understanding of the characteristics of objects, administrators should see the teacher providing opportunities for students to observe, manipulate, and classify objects that they encounter on a daily.

Parents 

Touch It!

The information and activities in this book are designed to teach children about materials, their properties, and their uses.

Mason, A. (2005). Touch It! Canada: Kids Can Press Ltd.

Touch It!

Materials and their Properties

In this section, children gain a greater understanding of the different types of materials that exist and about their properties. These can be fascinating to kids - how can something solid like glass be transparent like water? And what about magnets? They look like ordinary metal, but you only have to handle them to know there's something invisible going on there - especially the obscure sensation when two magnets repel each other. See this page.

Characteristics of Materials

Through this unit, children should extend their knowledge of the range of materials we use and of the properties that characterize them. This knowledge should help them recognize what needs to be considered when a material is chosen for a particular use.

See this page.

Fun at Home

In addition to describing how objects look, feel, sound, etc., children also benefit from exploring what happens when materials are manipulated through actions such as mixing, heating, cutting, wetting, etc.