Properties of Matter Science Stations for Fifth Grade
Teaching fifth-grade science according to the NGSS standards can seem like a daunting task! How do you know your science materials follow the Next Generation Science Standards? How do you make sure your students develop a deep understanding of the science concepts and retain the information? Most importantly, how do you help create or maintain a love of learning – especially a love for science! – in your students?
We’ve got you covered! We developed these fifth-grade Properties of Matter Science Stations with just those questions in mind. Through eight different science stations, your students will deepen their understanding of the properties of matter, including making observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. All stations meet the Next Generation Science Standards for Fifth Grade (5-PS1-3).
So, no stress about the NGSS. The science stations cover all the appropriate ones for Properties of Matter. No worries about content; everything your fifth-graders need to know about Properties of Matter is included. Best of all, these eight different science stations are fun, teaching and incorporating important skills through labs, experiments, videos, text, and games.
Let’s take a closer look to find out what that looks like!
What’s Included in the Properties of Matter Science Stations
Let’s start by going over what these science stations are actually about. In these stations, students learn about well, the properties of matter! What are properties? What kinds of properties does matter even have? Can we observe these properties and use them to identify a substance?
Students make observations, construct explanations, use evidence to support a claim, and design solutions to problems throughout the Properties of Matter unit to find out answers to these questions and more. The science stations contain challenging material for fifth graders, with new words and concepts in easy-to-implement, interactive stations.
Focus on NGSS Standards for 5-PS1-3
About those Next Generation Science Standards… They are written to be “Three Dimensional.” The three dimensions are Performance Expectation, Disciplinary Core Idea, and Science and Engineering Practices/Crosscutting Concepts.
The Properties of Matter Science Stations Unit focuses on these standards:
- Performance Expectation 5-PS1-3. Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
- Disciplinary Core Idea:
- 5-PS1.A – Measurements of a variety of properties can be used to identify materials.
- Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and carrying out investigations
- Crosscutting Concepts: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity: Standard units are used to measure and describe physical quantities such as weight, time, temperature, and volume
Big Idea Posters for Properties of Matter
Like all of our science stations, the Properties of Matter stations come with Big Idea posters that explain the core science ideas students will learn in this unit.
We love these posters for the classroom! You can print them out and have students place them in their science binders. Or make these Big Idea posters part of a designated science bulletin board in your classroom – contributing to your classroom decor! If you laminate them (who else is a big fan of laminating all the things?!), they will last longer, and you can use them year after year.
Some of the Big Ideas include:
- The freezing point, melting point, and boiling point help define a substance’s properties.
- A substance can be identified by its physical and chemical properties of matter.
- Solid, liquid, and gas are the tree states of matter.
There are three Big Idea Posters in this unit. Only the Properties of Matter Unit Bundle includes the Big Idea Posters. The Posters are not included for each individual station.
Vocabulary cards are essential! But let’s be honest, they can be super boring, too. Solution: We made them appealing by adding colorful pictures and to-the-point definitions. Included are two sets of vocabulary cards. One set has pictures with the word and definition. Each card has cutting lines so you can easily turn vocabulary learning into a game! You (or your students) can cut out the three sections of each card. Then, mix all the words, all the definitions, and all the pictures, and let the matching begin!
Hint: You can laminate these, too, and use them year after year, OR have students glue the completed vocabulary cards into their science notebooks.
Oh, they are the perfect size for pocket charts, too!
The second set of vocabulary cards have the word and definition in a larger font. This set is great for a science word wall. Both sets contain the same words, so you pick which one(s) are most suitable for your classroom without having to worry whether or not you’re covering it all.
The properties of matter vocabulary cards are also only available in the Unit Bundle. They are not available for each individual science station.
Differentiated Responses for Each Science Station
Every classroom is different and every child is different. With that in mind, all our science stations, including the Properties of Matter Science Stations have a variety of ways for students to interact with the station. Each station includes five different ways to respond to the experience at the station:
- short answer questions
- fill-in-the-blank questions without a word bank
- fill-in-the-blank with a word bank
- task cards with short answers
- task cards with multiple choice
All the variations are similar to one another, but require a different level of independence. The fill-in-the-blank is the easiest and perfect for your students who struggle with reading. The short answer is the most difficult as it requires students to construct their own responses without much support.
Choose the format that best fits your classroom and students. Students are also encouraged to use their science journal task cards. Answer keys are included.
Some activities also include an activity sheet or worksheet in addition to the differentiated responses. This activity sheet is the “work” of the station while the differentiated responses require students to think broadly about the topic and concept.
You can find examples of the questions in some of the images below.
All stations, except the Watch and Play stations, include reading passages. Most of these reading passages are optional, but they do build students’ background knowledge and solidify key concepts. Use them if your students do not have prior knowledge of the topic of the station.
The reading passages come in two formats. You’ll see versions of both of these formats in the below photographs. Both versions have the same text, but different layouts.
- Full-page with color border
- Two-Column with a black border
See examples of the two formats in the images below.
Google Classroom Components
Teaching virtually or wanting to incorporate digital components in your teaching? We’ve kept that in mind, too! All of our fifth-grade science stations come with components easily integrated with Google Classroom. Google Forms and Google Slides are included for most stations.
- A Google Form™️ with Reading Passage & Differentiated Questions is available for the Watch, Investigate, Diagram, Read, Model, Explore and Sort stations.
- Google Slides™️ with Activity Directions & Worksheets are available for for Investigate, Diagram, Model, Explore, Sort
Most of the hands-on activities still require physical components, but we have provided the directions and recording sheets in Google Slides.
Watch a Video about the Properties of Matter
Get those personal devices ready, or a big screen in front of the classroom. Your students will be watching a video (or two) during this station! There are two videos; one about properties of matter, the other about wood, water, and properties. We recommend you pick one, but if you have the time, feel free to do both!
After watching, students will answer questions about the video. This station contains several worksheets with open-ended, short-answer questions, fill-in-the-blank sentences, and more. Task cards are also included.
There are two videos included in this science station. Both are pictured here.
Play a Game About Properties of Matter
One of students’ favorite stations (of course…): The Play A Game Science Station! In this station, students will play a board game or complete a crossword puzzle or word search puzzle to reinforce what they have learned about the properties of matter.
During the board game, students work together to answer questions and move along the board. Hello, cooperative learning!
Also included are a crossword puzzle and word search. There are two versions of the crossword puzzle; one with a word list, and one without. The crossword puzzle and word search also come in digital formats. The digital form changes each time the page is loaded so each student can work on his or her own versions of the puzzles.
Investigate Mystery Material
Oh, doesn’t that sound intriguing and fun?! As the title suggests, after reading a passage about properties of matter, students will conduct an investigation to identify three unknown substances based on the observed properties of matter of each one. They will test properties with vinegar, iodine, etc. Afterward, students will answer questions about their investigation. This process teaches observation skills, reading skills, and recording skills.
What you see in the image below are pages of the included text.
This science station, too, includes differentiated worksheets and task cards.
Diagram Properties of Matter
In the Diagram station, students will read about the properties of matter. What is the difference between the physical and chemical properties of matter? Why is it important to find out a substance’s boiling, melting, and freezing point in order to identify it? What are some of the other properties of matter?
Your students will create their own diagram of physical properties based on the reading section and create a visual display. As with all stations, this one, too, includes worksheets and task cards.
Read About How Things Change and How They Stay the Same
In this science station, students read a passage about the properties of matter and how things change and stay the same. They will learn about the chemical and physical properties of matter, such as the boiling point of a substance or its flammability. Differentiated worksheets including short-answer, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, and task cards are included.
Model What Are All The Properties?
In this Model Science Station, students read about all the properties of matter. Afterward, they will observe a mystery liquid and perform some tests to determine some of its properties. For example, students will test the liquid’s PH value with PH strips, find out its boiling point, and how it reacts with baking soda.
One of the great things about these Science Stations – all of them! – is that both the Teacher and Student Instructions are detailed and easy to follow. You will know beforehand what items to purchase, how to set up (if needed), and how to help and guide your students. Your students will receive their own instruction sheets with to-the-point, easy-to-follow directions.
Of course, differentiated worksheets and task cards are included as well. Here is a picture of the short-answer (open ended questions) worksheet.
Explore Magnetic and Electric Properties
In the Explore station, students read about the magnetic and electric properties of matter. They will learn how to find the electric and magnetic properties of substances and explore more by putting this knowledge to the test themselves!
Your students will get to test several objects for their magnetic properties by performing tests with magnets and their electric properties by performing tests with wires, batteries, and more!
Activity sheets to record experiment observations are included, as are differentiated worksheets and task cards.
Sort Physical or Chemical Property
For the Sort Science Station, students read about the physical and chemical properties of matter. They then sort cards into groups or put them in a specific order. Students record the sort and describe their reasoning.
In this Sort, students determine whether an object’s specific property is physical or chemical. A copper pan conducts heat well. Is this a physical or chemical property? When baking soda is added to vinegar, it begins to fizz and bubble. Carbon dioxide and other substances are made from this reaction. Physical or chemical property?
Here are a few more examples. Can you determine which ones are physical properties of matter and which ones are chemical properties of matter?
- Hydrogen peroxide is kept in a dark bottle. When light reaches hydrogen peroxide, it breaks down to water and oxygen.
- Silver has a melting point of 962C.
- Light causes water and carbon dioxide in plantsto turn into sugar and oxygen.
- The iron in a nail is magnetic.
- Soap molecules combine with molecules of dirt and grease, allowing them to be carried away in water.
How to Purchase the Fifth Grade Properties of Matter Science Stations
The Properties of Matter Station Unit can be purchased on my website or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Other Fifth Grade Science Stations
We have fifth-grade science stations for all of the NGSS Standards. Click below for information about each one!
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