Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

First Grade - Science - Lesson 11 - Matter


Categorize matter.

Compare how solids and liquids behave.


Small solid objects - rock, pencil, pennies, beads, pebbles

Different sized clear containers


Suggested Books for the Unit

Branley, Franklyn M. Air Is All Around You. New York: HarperCollins, 1986.

Fowler, Allan. It Could Still Be Water. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1992.

Williams, Rozanne Lanczak. What Happened? Creative Teaching Press, 1994.


Tell the children that some things that don't seem to have anything in common actually do. For example, does it seem as though the following things have anything in common: the air we breathe, a baseball bat, and a lake? Even though they seem very different, the air we breathe, a baseball bat, and a lake are all made of something we call matter. Matter is something that has weight and takes up space. Call on individual children and ask them if each of the above things has weight and takes up space. Make a chart on the board with columns for liquids, solids, and gases. Tell the children that these are the three states of matter and give them examples of each: solid (rocks); liquid (water); gas (air). Rocks, water, and air weigh something and take up space so they are made of matter. Read the following poem aloud to the class.


What's the Matter?

by Tom McGowen(1)


What's the matter, do you ask?

I'll tell you right away.

It's everything around you, as

you work or sleep, or play.


A chair is matter, a table, too,

and so is a rock or tree.

A cloud, a star, a blade of grass,

a raindrop, a bumblebee.


The earth is matter, so is the sea,


First Grade - Science - Lesson 11 - Matter


and the sky is matter, too.

(Of course what matters most of all

is the matter that is you!)

There's matter almost everywhere,

except in one special place--

the vast, black, lonely emptiness,

that we call outer space.

Tell the children that solids are matter that have a shape that you can see and feel. A

solid's shape will not change on its own. Show the children a rock and a pencil. Ask: Could this rock change shape on its own? Can you feel the shape of this pencil?

Tell the children that liquids do not have a shape of their own. Liquids take the shape of the container in which they are placed. Demonstrate a shape comparison of solids and liquids. Pour some beads (pennies, pebbles, or another solid) from one container into a different shaped container. Ask: What happens to the shape of each bead? Next pour some water into a container. Ask: What shape is the water? Pour it into a different shaped container. Ask: What happens to the shape of the water?

Tell the children that some matter is hard to see, but it is still there. Gas has no special size or shape and is very difficult to see. The air we breathe is a mixture of gases. Air does have weight and it takes up space. You can feel it take up space when you breathe in and your lungs fill with air. You can see it take up space when you blow up a balloon. Tell the children that if they were to blow up different-shaped balloons, the shape of the balloon would determine the shape of the air inside.

Have the children brainstorm as many things they can think of that fall into each state of matter. (You may have to help them with gases.) Write their responses in the columns on the board.

Additional Activity

The following are directions for a file folder game on liquids and solids. Make two large cards divided into nine squares with the heading "liquids" on the top of one and "solids" on the top of the other. Mount the cards on the inside of a manila folder. Make 18 individual cards (the same size as the squares) and paste pictures (from magazines or other sources) of solids on half of the cards and liquids on the other half of the cards. For durability, laminate the folder and the game pieces. Store the game pieces in a plastic bag. You may wish to attach an answer key to the back of the folder.

One or two children could work with this folder at a time. If two children are working with the folder, one child will work on the "liquids" side and the other will work on the "solids" side. They should mix up the cards and place them face down, take turns drawing, and if the card the child picks belongs in his/her category of either a solid or a liquid the child places it on their side of the folder. If the card doesn't match that child's category, the card is placed on the bottom of the deck and the next child picks a card. The first to fill his/her card wins.


First Grade - Science - Lesson 12 - Matter


Discover that matter is composed of smaller parts.

Model with body movement the way atoms act in liquids, solids, and gases.


Say: During our last science lesson, we talked about things that are made of matter. Remember everything you can see, feel, taste, or smell is matter. Write the names of the three states of matter on the board. Ask various children to give you an example of one of the states of matter.

Matter is made of tiny parts that are too small to see called atoms. Atoms are the building blocks of matter. Make a diagram on the board to show the children what atoms in different states of matter look like. For solids, draw a group of dots close together. For liquids, draw a group a squiggly lines a little further apart than the dots in the solids. (The squiggly lines represent movement.) For gases, draw squiggly lines even farther apart. (See diagram below.)

Say: As a group, we are now going to pretend that we are the atoms of liquids, solids, and gases as they are shown on the board. Have the children stand in an open space in the classroom.

Tell the children that some matter is solid like a rock. The atoms are packed close together. Pretend to be the atoms of a rock. (Make sure the children stand close together; possibly in a circle standing shoulder to shoulder with children filling in the center of the circle.) Tell the children that some matter is liquid like water. The building blocks move around, just as water. Pretend to be the atoms of water. Ask: How would you move? (Make sure the children move apart from one another. Have them move their arms up and down; possibly in a slow flapping motion.) Tell the children that some matter is a gas like air. The atoms are spread far apart and move around. As a matter of fact, the atoms in air are spread so far apart that air is invisible to us. Pretend to be the atoms in air.

Solids Liquids Gases




First Grade - Science - Lesson 13 - Matter


Observe how different solids behave in water.


Per group of four: 6 clear plastic cups, salt, sand, spoons, paper towels

2 liter bottle (filled with water)


Tell the children that they are going to observe what happens to two different solids when they are mixed with a liquid, which will be water. Have the children work in groups of four. One child from each group should get the supplies for the group (4 clear plastic cups, a small amount of sand in a cup and a small amount of salt in another cup, 1 spoon).

Ask the children to predict what they think will happen when water is mixed with salt in a cup. Write their predictions on the board. Next, ask what they think will happen when water is mixed with sand in a cup. Write their predictions on the board.

Circulate around the classroom and pour water into two cups for each group. Tell the children to add sand to one cup and salt to another. Ask: Does the water get cloudy or look clear? Tell the children to stir the mixture with a spoon. Ask: Does it make a difference if you stir the mixtures? What happened? What does the water look like now? Tell the children to leave the cups alone for a few minutes. Ask: What has happened to the water mixtures now?

Have the children pour each mixture through paper towels into separate clean cups. Ask the children to look at the water and then at the paper towels. Ask: What happened to the sand mixture? (Bits of sand are trapped in the paper and the water passes through.) Ask: What happened to the salt mixture? (If mixed well the water and the salt cannot be separated.)

Ask the children to predict what would happen if you left the salt water out for a week. Write their predictions down and save. Place the cup with the salt water mixture on a window sill and leave there for a week. Next week, take out the children's predictions and discuss. Show the children that the water has evaporated and the salt has been left behind.


First Grade - Science - Lesson 14 - Matter


Observe what happens when air is released into water.

Observe that air takes up space and has weight.


Bucket or large container, balloons, water, plastic straw, heavy string, push pin, clear plastic bottle


Demonstrate for the class that gases do have weight and take up space by conducting the following experiments.

Fill a bucket or container with water. Hold up an empty, clear plastic bottle. Ask: Does this bottle look empty? Push the bottle into the container of water and tell the children to watch as the bottle fills up with water. Ask: What do you see coming out of the mouth of the bottle? (bubbles) What caused the bubbles to come out of the bottle? (As the bottle fills up with water, air is being pushed out from the inside of the bottle.) Tell the children that most things that look empty are really full of a gas we call air. Even though we cannot see it, air is all around us.

Blow up a balloon and hold it closed. Let the balloon go. Ask: Where does the air go when I let go of the balloon? Blow up the balloon again and hold it under water, making sure just to immerse the balloon. What happens to the level of the water in the container? Tell the children that because the air in the balloon takes up space, the water rises up the side of the bucket as the air-filled balloon pushes the water aside.

Tell the children that although air is invisible, it does have weight. To prove this to students, make a balance by tying a piece of heavy string around the center of the straw. Inflate two balloons to equal size and tie a piece of string to each balloon. Tie a balloon to each end of the straw, hold the balance scale by the string and observe the balloons. Balance the balloons by moving them along the straw by their strings. Using the pin or scissors, break one of the balloons. Ask: Why won't the balloons balance when one balloon has air in it and the other doesn't? (The weight of the balloon filled with air is greater than the empty one.) Tell the children that when both air-filled balloons are hanging from the straw balance, the air in each keeps them even. Releasing air from one balloon by popping it, causes the balloon that is still inflated to drop because it weighs more.

Review with the children that gases, such as air, have weight and take up space in the same way the two other states of matter, solids and liquids, do.


First Grade - Science - Lesson 15 - Matter

Adapted from STARS "Concentrating on Changes" Lesson 6 - Solid or Liquid


Observe how matter changes form.

Observe how solids can change to liquids.

Observe how a liquid can change to a gas.


Ice cube trays -- 4

Kool-Aid packet -- 1


Clear pitcher -- 2 quart


Candle, matches, small plate


Show the children a candle. Ask: What is this? What is it made of? How do we know that it is a candle? (hard, waxy, has a wick) Ask: Is there a way to change this candle from a solid to a liquid? Light the candle; let it drip onto the small plate. Tilt the plate so that the wax runs. Ask: How has the candle changed? How is it the same? Allow the wax to cool. Ask: What is happening now? (It is turning solid again.)

Say: Today we are going to change a liquid, water, to a solid. Can anyone suggest how we do this? (Freeze the water.)

(This demonstration will take two sessions; start in the morning and continue in the afternoon.) Mix the Kool-Aid packet with water and display Kool-Aid in a clear container. Ask students how they could make it into a solid. Pour the Kool-Aid into the ice cube trays. Have the children make predictions about what changes, if any, will take place after leaving the trays in the freezer until the afternoon. Ask the children to explain how they arrived at their predictions. Put the trays in the freezer.

In the afternoon, take the frozen Kool-Aid cubes out of the freezer and place into cups and bring to the classroom (one cube in a cup for each child). Pour some of the liquid Kool-Aid into separate cups (one for each group). Show the children the wax that dripped and hardened on the plate from the earlier demonstration. Let them feel it. Is this wax a liquid or a solid now? (solid) We are going to see if our liquid from this morning turned into a solid (solidified).

Organize the children in small groups. Give each group a cup with some of the Kool-Aid in it and one Kool-Aid cube per child. Have the children compare the liquid and solid forms of Kool-Aid. Ask: Were our predictions correct? Ask: What change did you observe in the Kool-Aid? What caused the change in the Kool-Aid?

What was the change in the wax this morning? (solid to liquid to solid) What caused the wax to change? (room temperature to hot to room temperature; wax melted, then cooled, then solidified; we heated then cooled it) What caused the Kool-Aid to change? (room temperature to freezing to room temperature)

Ask: What happens when a liquid is frozen? (becomes a solid) What happens when some types of solids are melted? (becomes a liquid) How can we make these changes? (change the temperature) How can we change liquids to solids? (cool them) How can we change solids to liquids? (heat them)


First Grade - Science - Lesson 16 - Matter


Observe how a solid and a liquid can form a different kind of matter.


Baking soda, balloon, spoon, paper funnel, vinegar, plastic bottle, lemonade (lemon juice and water)

Blackline of fish bowl


Gather the children around you for a science demonstration. Tell the children that sometimes matter changes into a completely different kind of matter. Demonstrate for the class how a solid and a liquid can form a new substance, a gas. Put vinegar in a bottle. Ask: What kind of matter is in the bottle? (a liquid) Put the opening of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Ask: Is the balloon filling up? (no)

Next, remove the balloon, put baking soda in the balloon by inserting a funnel (one can be made by rolling a sheet of paper) into the neck of the balloon. Ask: What kind of matter am I putting in the balloon? (a solid) Twist the end of the balloon, so that the baking soda does not fall out. Place the opening of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Untwist the balloon and lift it so that the baking soda falls into the vinegar. Ask: What has changed? What is left in the bottle? What two types of matter did we start with? (a solid and a liquid) What did it change into? (a gas) What caused the liquid to change? (mixing the solid and liquid together)

For the next demonstration, fill one glass half full of water. Tell the children that as we just observed, sometimes when you mix a solid with a liquid a change occurs. Stir in teaspoon of baking soda. Ask: Does it dissolve easily? Does anything happen when I stir baking soda into water? (the water becomes cloudy) Fill a second glass half full of water mixed with lemon juice. Use a clean spoon to stir in teaspoon of baking soda in the mixture. Ask: Does anything happen when the lemon juice is mixed with baking soda? (The mixture produces bubbles.) What caused the bubbles? (mixing lemon juice with baking soda)

As a review of the material covered in this unit, discuss the attached picture of a fish bowl with the children. Ask: If I poured the water into a different shaped container, what shape would the water be? Tell the children to look at each object in the picture. Call on individual children to tell you what state of matter each object is.


First Grade - Science - Lesson 16 - Matter

1. How Things Work, Childcraft--The How and Why Library, vol. 7 (Chicago: World Book, 1982), 101.