What's the matter with those molecules?

 Author: Charles Brown III

AreaPhysical Sciences 

 Grade Level: 8




This lesson plan is composed of several approaches to introduce students to sub atomic particles, the atomic measurement scale, molecules and phase changes of matter. The main approach is inquiry based with hands on experimentation with common materials selected to show changes in the physical state of matter, however the plan is peppered with key conceptual models introduced using computer based imagery to provide the students with insight to experimental work conducted at Arizona State University and other university and corporate researchers.




A. National Education Standards – Content Standards (CS) for grade levels 5-8.

CS-A Science as inquiry

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Understanding about scientific inquiry

CS-B Physical science standards

· Properties and changes of properties in matter

CS-E Science and technology

Abilities of technological design

Understanding about science and technology

CS-F Science in personal and social perspectives

Risks and benefits

Science and technology in society

CS-G History and nature of science standards

Nature of science

History of science

B. Arizona Standards – Chandler Unified School District – Physical Science

Strand 1 – The Inquiry Process

- Concept 1 PO’s – 1, 2 and 3

- Concept 2 PO’s – 1, 4 and 5

- Concept 3 PO’s – 1 thru 6

- Concept 4 PO’s – 1 thru 5

Strand 2 – History and Nature of Science

- Concept 1 PO’s – 2, 3 and 4

- Concept 2 PO’s – 1 and 2

3. Strand 3 – Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

- Concept 2 PO’s – 1, 2, 3 and 4

4. Strand 5 – Physical Science

- Concept 1 PO’s 1, 4, 5 and 7



 Keywords: Atom, molecules, matter, phases, nano scale.



1. Smith, C., Wiser, M., Anderson, C., Krajcik, J., Coppola, B., "Implications of research on children’s learning for assessment: Matter and Atomic Molecular Theory." Center for Education, National Research Council, October 2004.






 Lesson Plan (pdf/doc)