Wednesday, April 9, 2014

States of Matter

I have been utilizing the following manual, available from Montessori Services, for developing meaningful science lessons and discussions in the classroom.  I appreciate how the book breaks down concepts in an easy-to-follow manner and gives ideas of how to best plan and demonstrate science lessons.  Most of all, the activities presented in the book are meaningful to the children and engage students in exploring and analyzing the world around them.
Most recently, we have been been learning about solids, liquids, and gases and the children were introduced to a new lesson for the science shelf.  I will share with my readers that part of the reason for the success of this activity had to do with the amount of excitement and drama with which the subject was introduced.  In other words, I wanted my students to be excited about this work, so I was sure to be extra excited (and dramatic) while showing it to them!  After all, part of the success of any lesson is the enthusiasm shown by the teacher.  I think it worked because we have many children investigating throughout the classroom and even during other, separate lessons classifying matter as solids, liquids, or gasses.  "This block is a solid."  "My water is a liquid and it is in the shape of the glass it is in."  "I am breathing air.  It is a gas."

The lesson on a tray:  Labels for solid, liquid, and gas; jars filled with different forms of matter.

The materials sorted by matter under the labels.

Color-coded sticker dots for control of error on the backs of labels and bottoms of jars.  

I am looking forward to extending this learning with additional activities such as sorting items gathered from around the classroom or making booklets with pictures and labels. 


  1. Hi Sasha, where can we buy the book ? Thanks

  2. Montessori Services - check the link in the first sentence of this post! :-)

  3. I don't know if this sounds silly but I LOVE that you showed us the control of error! I'm obsessed with figuring out the control of error on works…maybe I need to get out more?

    I know some people prepare their lessons plans around a monthly theme, some people plan 2 weeks ahead…and I'm sure others figure it out as they go…would you share, just in a basic way…, how you organize and plan your lessons? Or is that trade secret ;D

    I have a better idea, we meet for brunch and I'll bring a (very large) notebook.

  4. Hi Heather,
    Ahh, wouldn't it be great to compare notes? There is always so much to learn from others…!
    Most of my plans happen as we go along. At the beginning of the year however, I have an idea about what we can cover taking into account the three year cycle that some (not all, unfortunately) are in the classroom. For example, on the first of a three year cycle we might cover concepts such as the Earth, land, air, water, etc. The next year (as we did last year), we broke it down by continent and covered North America, Asia, and Europe. This year, we have done Africa, Antarctica, South America (currently), and after an upcoming break will be Australia. Next year, I think it might be interesting to break it down even more - for example study a specific country within a continent… Does that make sense? In this manner, even if a child is with me for three years, each year is different from the others….

  5. That makes sense to me! The amount of material is so vast that it's almost daunting to try and thing of presenting it all, even in a three year cycle! I think the take away is that you cannot cover it all in one year, nor every single last possibility in three years, so cover what you can in a sensible way that is meaningful and productive for the children while you have them…did I get that pretty close?

    What I appreciate about your classroom in particular is that (not always but consistently) your thread-such as continent studies influence other areas of your classroom(PL and Art come immediately to mind). I think this makes so much sense…you are giving yourself a readily available thought process for works in other areas of the classroom. There is a cohesion and a possibility of depth of understanding-

  6. Yes, the important thing to remember (and something I still tell myself) is what you already stated, "…cover what you can in a sensible way that is meaningful and productive for the children..." So true. We all do the best we can with what we have! :-)