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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

PROPERTIES OF MATTER

Matter is the stuff from which all objects and substances in the universe are
made. Matter takes up space, meaning it has volume. Matter contains a certain
amount of material, therefore it has mass. Because all matter has mass and
volume, all matter can be detected, though some more easily than others. All
matter has both physical and chemical properties. Matter can be classified
according to these physical and chemical properties. The 6 th grade student will
continue to build on their previous understanding of the properties of matter by
classifying substances by their physical and chemical properties. Students in
elementary school explored physical properties of matter, but they did not
address chemical properties. Activities at the 6 th grade level should focus on
chemical as well as physical properties of matter.

Physical Properties

Physical properties are those that can be observed without changing the make-up,
or identity, of the matter. The chart below lists some common physical properties
of matter. Properties and/or concepts listed in blue are being introduced for
the first time at the 6th grade level.

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

Physical
Proper What Students Should Graphic
What It Means
ties Understand

Physical properties can be


Color, size, shape,
observed using the
texture, luster
Appearance senses to identify
(how a substance and describe
reflects light) matter.

Buoyancy applies to both


Tendency to float or liquids and gases and
Buoyancy rise in a fluid is determined in
(liquid or gas) part by density and
fluid displacement.

Most substances have a


Temperature at which a unique boiling point that can
Boiling Point substance changes from be used with other
a liquid to a gas properties to identify
substances.

Heat, sound, and electricity
Ability of a substance travel better through some
Conductivity to conduct heat, sound, substances (conductors)
or electricity than through others
(insulators).

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

Physical
Proper What Students Should Graphic
What It Means
ties Understand

When two substances have


the same volume,
the one with greater
mass has greater
density. For
example, a cup of
Amount of matter in a feathers and a cup
Density given volume; expressed of marbles have the
as D = m/v same volume, but
because the cup of
marbles has greater
mass it has a
greater density.
Students will
calculate density.

This property is often used


Ability of a substance
to determine if a substance
Ductility to be pulled into a thin
can be used to make wire.
strand, such as a wire

Ability of a substance
A harder substance will
Hardness to resist being
scratch a softer substance.
scratched

Without touching them, a


magnet pulls on all things
Magnetism Ability to attract iron made of iron and either
pushes or pulls on other
magnets.

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

Physical
Proper What Students Should Graphic
What It Means
ties Understand

This property is used to


Ability of a substance to determine if a substance
Malleability be pressed or pounded can be rolled into thin
into a thin sheet sheets. (example: aluminum
foil).

All solids, liquids, and gases


have mass because
they are all made of
matter rather than
Measure of the amount energy. At this
of matter in a level the mass of an
Mass solid, liquid, or object should be
gas (measured in measured using a
grams) triple beam balance.
Students should
understand the
difference between
mass and weight.

Most substances have a
unique melting point that
can be used with other
Temperature at which a properties to identify
Melting Point substance changes from substances. The
a solid to a liquid temperature at which a
substance melts and
freezes is the same (melting
point = freezing point).

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

Physical
Proper What Students Should Graphic
What It Means
ties Understand

This is not always the best


physical property to use to
describe substances
because odor is difficult to
Ability of a substance to distinguish and it can be
Odor
give off a certain smell considered subjective.
However, some substances
have distinct odors, such as
sulfur which smells like
rotten eggs.

A solution is a mixture that


appears to be a single
Ability of a substance to substance. It is composed
Solubility dissolve in another of particles of two or more
substance substances that are
distributed evenly among
each other.

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

Physical
Proper What Students Should Graphic
What It Means
ties Understand

A solid has a definite shape


and volume. A liquid
has a definite
volume and takes


the shape of the
container it is in. A
gas has no definite
shape or volume but
changes to match

State of
Matter
Matter exists as a solid,
liquid, or gas
the shape and
volume of the
container it is in.

Students should also
understand that a
liquid or a gas can be
referred to as a
fluid. Changes in
the state of matter
are caused by the
addition or
reduction of energy.

Amount of energy in A change in temperature is


matter a measure of the loss or
Temperature (measured in gain of energy in matter.
degrees Celsius Scientists generally
or Fahrenheit) measure temperature in
degrees Celsius.

Graduated cylinders allow


precision in measuring
Amount of space an
volume. Students should
object or substance
Volume practice reading a meniscus.
takes up, measured in
The volume of an irregular
cm3 or ml.
solid can be found by
displacement of water.
Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

Chemical Properties

Chemical properties describe matter based on its ability to change into new matter
with different properties. This is a new concept in 6th grade. Chemical properties
can be identified only when the new substance has chemical and physical properties
that are different from the original substance. A chemical reaction takes place
when one or more substances change to form one or more new substances.
Substances that undergo the change are called reactants and the new substances
resulting from this chemical change are called products. Reactivity refers to the
ability of two or more substances (reactants) to combine to form a new substance
or substances (products) with different chemical and physical properties. An
example of this process is when wood burns and results in ash and smoke. Ash and
smoke cannot be changed back into wood. The chart below lists some common
chemical properties of matter:

Chemical
Property What It Means What Students Should Understand
A reaction with oxygen results in
Reactivity with Ability of a substance to react processes such as rusting and tarnishing
oxygen with oxygen of some metals.
Not all substances react with oxygen.
This knowledge is used in the real world to
prevent rusting and tarnishing. For
Non-reactivity with Ability of a substance to resist example, a metal that is reactive with
oxygen reacting with oxygen oxygen can be coated or galvanized with a
non-reactive substance to prevent rusting
or tarnishing.
Everything will burn, given a high enough
Flammability Ability of a substance to burn temperature. When a substance burns,

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

ash and smoke may not be given off.


Fumes, which may be toxic, can be a
product of the reaction.
This property is useful in the real world
Ability of a substance to resist when selecting certain substances that
Non-flammability
burning must withstand extreme heat.

Physical and Chemical Changes

As 6th grade students explore physical and chemical properties, they encounter the
concepts of physical and chemical change. Physical and chemical changes in
properties of matter are introduced at this grade level as the TEKS states that
students are expected to demonstrate that new substances can be made when two
or more substances are chemically combined and compare the properties of the
new substances to the original substances. Chemical changes will be further
explored in 7th grade, but it is the 6th grade teacher that lays the foundation for
this concept.

Students should know that physical change alters only the physical properties of
matter, but not the chemical properties. For example, folding or cutting paper still
results in paper. When a chemical change occurs, the chemical properties have
changed, producing new substances. For example, burning changes the matter into
new substances. In the case of burning paper, the new products are ash, gases,
and smoke. These products have different physical and chemical properties from
the original paper.

A table, such as the following, might be helpful for students to have as a ready
reference regarding what are physical versus chemical changes:

Description Is it Physical? Is it Chemical?


Burning coal X
Mixing salt & pepper X
Dissolving sugar in tea X
Melting an iron rod X
Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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N o rt h Eas t Ind ep e nd e nt Scho o l Dis t rict

6th Grade Science Unit 1 Properties of Matter Rev. Spring 2008

A can rusting X
Cooking scrambled eggs X
Water freezing into ice cubes X
Fireworks exploding X
Sawing wood to make a cabinet X
Bread baking X

Some signs that may indicate a chemical change has taken place include:
change in color
production of heat
foaming, fizzing, or release of gas bubbles
sound is produced
light is given off

Clarifyingstatementsareintendedtodeepenteachersunderstandingofscienceconceptsandserveasaguideforinstructionaldesign.Theyare
notintendedtoserveasstudentinstructionalmaterials.
This publication is the property of North East Independent School District. Duplication in whole or in part, outside of NEISD, is
prohibited without express written permission from NEISD.
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