Physical Properties of Matter
This unit bundles student expectations that address physical properties of matter. In this unit students will classify matter
according to their physical properties. Students will also compare the physical properties of mixtures and solutions to
decide whether they change or remain the same. Many process skills will be embedded to support scientific processes
5.5 The student knows that matter has measurable physical properties and those properties determine how matter is
classified, changed, and used.
5.5A Classify matter based on physical properties, including mass, magnetism, physical state (solid, liquid, and gas),
relative density (sinking and floating), solubility in water, and the ability to conduct or insulate thermal energy or
electric energy.Readiness standard.
5.5B Identify the boiling and freezing/melting points of water on the Celsius scale.Supporting standard.
Scientific Process TEKS:
5.1 The student conducts classroom and outdoor investigations following home and school safety procedures and
environmentally appropriate and ethical practices.
5.1A Demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during
classroom and outdoor investigations.
5.1B Make informed choices in the conservation, disposal, and recycling of materials.
5.2 The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and outdoor investigations.
5.2C Collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.
5.2D Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect
5.2F Communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.
5.4 The student knows how to use a variety of tools and methods to conduct science inquiry.
5.4A Collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand
lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, prisms, mirrors, pan balances, triple beam balances, spring scales,
graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices,
including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observations of habitats or organisms such as
terrariums and aquariums.
Key Understandings and Guiding Question
Matter has measurable physical properties, and those properties determine how matter is classified, changed and
How do physical properties determine how to classify matter?
How do physical properties determine how matter is changed?
How do physical properties determine how matter is used?
Changes in water are caused by heating and cooling.
What causes the changes when heating and cooling cause changes in water?
Vocabulary of Instruction:matter
Everything is matter except for a vacuum (empty space). Matter is everything that has mass and takes up space. For 5th
grade, the commonly seen states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Plasma is another state of matter which will not be
discussed in this lesson. Our Sun is made of plasma, as are all stars.
Physical properties that will be used to classify matter are mass, magnetism, physical state, relative density, solubility in
water, and the ability to conduct or insulate thermal or electric energy. The mass and other characteristics that can be
seen or measured without changing how that object looks are its physical properties.
Matter can go through a change in physical state. Some of the processes are melting, freezing, evaporation, and
condensation. Temperature changes facilitate these changes in state. An object is classified as a liquid, solid, or gas
depending on its state at room temperature.
Mass is the amount of matter in an object. It is not the same as weight. Weight is a result of the pull of gravity on an
object and is measured with a scale. Mass is measured with a balance to compare the substance to a known mass.
Magnetism is easily explored using common household objects and a magnet. Objects composed of iron and alloys of
iron (steel), cobalt, and nickel are attracted to magnets. They will be pulled toward the magnet. Not all metals are
attracted to magnets. Aluminum does not respond as strongly to a magnet as iron. The belief that all metals have an
attraction to a magnet is a common misconception. Magnets have poles and can be temporary or permanent.
Conductivity (conductors/insulators) of matter can be explored by allowing students to experiment with how energy
travels through various substances. This unique property helps scientists classify matter. Some materials allow energy to
flow through them easily, and others do not allow energy transfer as easily.
Relative density is introduced in 4th grade. The standard has changed from density to relative density (sinking and
floating), which is a more informal approach in the instruction of these concepts. Students will not calculate density until
6th grade. Density is the mass of a substance per amount of space an object occupies (volume). Relative density is
comparing the density of an object to the density of water. The relative density of water is 1. An object will sink if its
relative density is more than 1, but will float if it is 1 or less.
Solubility in water is the ability of a substance to dissolve when added to water. In order for the dissolving to take place,
molecular bonds of the dissolving substance and the liquid have to be broken and reformed. This process requires
energy. Students will not learn about molecular bonds in this grade. Liquids, solids, and gases may be dissolved in