States of matter is a unit of study that will follow students for years to come! I’ve been teaching matter to my upper elementary students for a while now, and I have narrowed down go-to activities for teaching this unit. I love all matter activities and some of them are just so fun that I get so excited! My hopes are that you will get just as excited as me.
In this blog, I will share four activities to help your upper elementary students master states of matter.
Student Led Anchor Chart
This is my go-to activity for introducing students to the states of matter. Using a large piece of anchor chart paper, I walk my students through the states of matter. On this anchor chart, I include the three states, a definition, image, and examples. I also have my students create a miniature version of this anchor chart in their journals, so we are creating together!
You can make this really interactive by having students come up and draw on the class anchor chart, create the images, or offer examples of the different states of matter. You want students to truly take ownership of their learning, and show them how much they already know about matter.
Okay, centers are my secret obsession, so I apologize in advance for nerding out. I think centers are the best way to give students ownership over their learning, engage in material, and provide formative data. Additionally, I love how diverse centers can be. The best part – centers don’t have to be complicated. Here are center ideas you can use for matter: videos from YouTube, labeling activity, and matter sorts.
Not sure what to plan for centers? I have ready-to-go matter centers perfect for third through fifth grade. These math centers include the following activities: a passage, illustrate it, watch and respond, true or false, and much more. There are eight centers in total! You can grab this center resource here.
Sometimes the best way to gain knowledge is through a timeless classic: reading! Have students read a passage to gain knowledge about matter and flex their reading skills. Try having students read a passage with a group, and then sharing with the class what they read. Alternatively, you can have students practice summarizing and retelling after reading an article about matter.
Research always tells us that student choice makes a difference in student learning, so why not use choice boards? If you aren’t familiar with choice boards, these are charts that have a variety of different activities listed. Students then select the activities they want to complete in the order they want to complete them. You can have them select a certain number or pattern on their board. Here are a few states of matter choice board activities to get you started: create a drawing for each state of matter, list items from your home and identify its state of matter, or make a joke for the class about matter.
Want a ready-to-go matter choice board? This choice board includes nine activities that cover the three states of matter. Activities include a text conversation, flow map, and song. All choice board activities are ready at the press of a button: print! Grab the choice board here.