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Mystery Powder: Make Observations and Measurements to Identify Materials Based on Their Properties.

Identifying Materials Based On Their Properties

Students will identify materials based on their properties!

Students will love being detectives and trying to determine the mystery substance based on its properties! Students will conduct four different investigations to determine the properties of matter and eventually to determine the identity of the mystery substance. 
Students will also learn about lab safety. 
 
Lab One: Mystery powders 

Lab Two: Is it water-soluble? 

Lab Three: Planning an Investigation 

Lab Four: Does Weight of Matter Change? 

Students will identify materials based on their properties. This aligns well with 5th-grade science. Students will design and investigate household materials to determine the properties of the mystery substances and then to determine what the substances are. Students will learn about the properties of matter through investigation. Students will love these four investigations! This unit starts with the use of phenomena and students will use science and engineering practices to solve the mystery.

Here is a fun activity to go with 5th grade standards. From the Disciplinary Core Idea: Matter and Its Interactions and Properties of Matter

NGSS 5-PS1-3. Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
NGSS 5-PS1-2. Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved. 
 
 Standard 5.2.2 Ask questions to plan and carry out investigations to identify substances based on patterns of their properties. Emphasize using properties to identify substances. Examples of properties could include color, hardness, conductivity, solubility, or a response to magnetic forces. Examples of substances could include powders, metals, minerals, or liquids. (PS1. A) 
„
Standard 5.2.4 Use mathematics and computational thinking to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling or combining substances, the total weight of matter is conserved. Examples could include melting an ice cube, dissolving salt in water, and combining baking soda and vinegar in a closed bag. (PS1.A, PS1.B)

properties of matter

Because we are dealing with 5th graders and mystery substances, this is a good time to review lab safety. 

  • Do not ingest anything.  
  • Do not inhale directly, instead waft the scent to you and inhale only a tiny sniff.
  • Wear goggles.

Safety Labs

Prepare in advance: water, iodine, and apple cider vinegar.
Investigation on liquids

Students love a good mystery!  In this case, using mystery powders or liquids will give students a way to apply their understanding of the properties of matter to a real-world problem. In this lesson, students explore the physical and chemical properties of matter through four investigations with the objective of using properties of matter to identify different types of matter. 

While students conduct this investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meets the goals of the investigation. Throughout this process, students explore how properties of matter are related to the structure of matter and that structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account the properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.

Investigation on substances to determine the properties
 
I also labeled the spoons so that we did not cross mix.
Plan and Carry out an Investigation 5th grade
 
Students are given five mystery bags of white powder.
Plan and Carry out an Investigation 5th grade
They make a grid to organize their results.
 
Students test the mystery substances with water, iodine, and vinegar. Students will use their skills as scientists to identify a mystery white powder. This lesson is a hands-on, engaging way to build students’ understanding of the physical and chemical properties of several common compounds
Plan and Carry out an Investigation 5th grade
identify matter based on properties
identify matter based on properties
 
Students record results.
recording data for a lab
See my resource on Properties of Matter
 
At the end of the lab, students try to identify the substance with the matching cards.
recording data for a lab
Later students are given another mystery substance and asked to design their own investigation to discover what it is.  Using comparing to the first mystery substance, they find common characteristics and properties.
 
This is a great resource for 5th-grade science.  All the prep work is planned out for you.  These investigations are easy to implement. Students and teachers love them!
 
Over 60 Five Star Perfect Ratings! 
 
Misty B.

Misty B.

September 25, 2019

5.0
I am thrilled with this unit. It is really well planned and easy for a teacher to implement. The directions were clear and the labs used low-cost household materials.
 
Thank you for visiting!
The entire unit is available in my store.
 
and also here on teachingscience.us
Mystery powders labs
Mystery Powder lab
identifying the substance based on properties of matter

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