Lesson idea. This activity is designed to help young children understand that matter is made of particles and to identify changes in state as changes in the amount of energy that particles within the material have. They are meant to develop a very practical understanding of this principle as preparation for investigating the changes in state of various different materials. The activity is a practical, physical exploration of a concept and so is best done in a large hall as there is some running around involved.
Teaching approach. This is a practical session to be used with a whole class with scope within the activity for a number of different methods of learning:
- Whole class dialogue - Discussion of each part of the activity.
- Open-ended questions – Why do materials change state? What happens to the particles?
- Project work – As part of a wider science topic on materials.
- Enquiry-based learning – Children are discovering the answer to questions that they are encouraged to pose themselves.
- Arguing and reasoning – Persuading each other about their ideas.
- Exploring ideas – Developing practical, physical understanding of key scientific principles.
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This resource was adapted from resources and original ideas contributed by Paul Warwick, at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.