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Culminating Project

Differentiated Instruction

Erin Sorenson
UMS, 1st Grade

VT Standards Addressed:
• Properties of Matter: 7.12a, aa, aaa, b, bb, bbb, c, cc, ccc; 3.10, 3.11, 3:13
Grade Level Expectations:
S1-2.4: Students demonstrate their ability to conduct experiments by labeling significant aspects of a
scientific drawing or diagram.
S1-2.2:9: Students demonstrate their understanding of properties of matter by identifying, recording, and
comparing characteristics of objects made of similar and different properties.
S1-2.12: Students demonstrate their understanding of the states of matter by identifying, describing, and
comparing states of matter of solids and liquids.
S1-2.14: Students demonstrate their understanding of physical change by describing and reporting the
change in properties when heat is applied to a solid or when heat leaves a liquid (e.g. water/ice).

Learner Profile: My class consists of fifteen first grade students, including one with Autism. This child
has a full-time, one-on-one assistant and is in the classroom as often as possible. There are nine boys and
six girls in the class. About half the children in the class are six years old and the other half are seven
years old.

I have not formally administered any interest or learning styles inventories, but the kindergarten teachers
included information on the Learning Profile (which is passed on from kindergarten to first grade) about
the learning styles that they observed appealed most to these children while they were in kindergarten.
Also, in preparation for this unit, I have had many opportunities to observe children’s learning choices
and preferences in order to determine the intelligences/styles most predominant in our class.

I have observed that many students are very active learners—they like to move and get their bodies
involved in their learning. This leads me to believe that they are strong in the Bodily-Kinesthetic
Intelligence. These same students also seem to be strong in the Logical-Mathematical intelligence, which
lends itself well to the type of scientific thinking I will be asking students to do. Many of my students are
also quite drawn to artistic endeavors, which lends itself to the Spatial Intelligence. There seems to be an
equal division of children who are Interpersonal learners versus Intrapersonal learners. Therefore, I think
it’s vital to have a mix of whole-group, small group, and independent learning opportunities.

As far as accommodating the variety of preferred Learning Styles that my students likely are already
starting to develop (Mastery, Understanding, Self Expressive, Interpersonal), I have drawn upon the
“Matrix Combined Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences” created by Brad Blanchette. I have
attempted to create activities that relate to all four learning styles and Multiple Intelligences that seem
most prominent in my classroom (Bodily-Kinesthetic, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, and Verbal-
Community in the Classroom:

As I know you are aware, the primary schools in Colchester have adopted the Responsive Classroom
philosophy. I visited the RC website ( to help me with my reflections on
the importance of community in the classroom. While I was perusing their website, I found the following
seven principles of the Responsive Classroom listed:

 The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.

 How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go
hand in hand.

 The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.

 To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills:

cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

 Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is

as important as knowing the content we teach.

 Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as
partners is essential to children's education.

 How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual

competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

These principles seem to me to be the perfect framework for my reflection on the

importance of community in my classroom. I have selected several principles and
listed my thoughts on how it is reflected in my classroom.

The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.

Students need to feel physically and emotionally safe in order to learn effectively.
According to the suggestions of RC, I take the first six weeks of the school year to
help children get to know me, their peers, and themselves better. We take things
slowly—learning the routines of the classroom, reflecting on and creating rules for
our meetings and our classroom as a whole, and doing many “getting to know you”
activities. Through this slow “easing in process,” students become comfortable with
each other and the classroom. Because we are not jumping into the nitty gritty of
the curriculum, my attention can be given to helping students solve problems as
they arise, learn what it looks like/sounds like/feels like to follow the rules of our
classroom, and facilitate in conversations amongst students who may not otherwise
make connections. This is not all accomplished in the first six weeks, of course, but
these early weeks do set the tone for the entire school year.

How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand
in hand.

Sounds very “DI,” doesn’t it? Part of my role as the leader of a DI/RC classroom is to
get to know my students as learners. What makes them tick? What are their areas
of talent/weakness? Part of being the leader of a DI/RC classroom means that I need
to get to know students learning styles and preferences. Information about this can
be gleaned from their Learning Profile passed on from the kindergarten teachers. I
also watch students carefully throughout the school year to find out what
teaching/learning style suits them best. Getting to know your students is essential
to any classroom community, and knowing what type of instruction works best for
each student is a part of this. I do have to note, however, that I feel strongly that I
need to expose students to a wide variety of teaching styles and learning activities
so that students can see what works best for them. At the 1st grade level, students
do not yet know what type of learner they are—they need to try things out and
discover that over time.

The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.

I have often marveled to my trusted colleagues just how true this statement is.
When a solid, trusting community has been established, students flourish. I am
continually amazed at how much students learn from each other. I could go on for
pages! I see great growth happen during our Morning Meetings, for example. During
this time, students are interacting in many ways—through saying good morning to
each other (our Greeting), telling stories of their lives (Sharing), engaging in a wide
range of group activities (Activity), and interacting with our Morning Message (News
and Announcements). This daily routine is familiar and comfortable. When problems
arise, which they inevitably do, I work with students to fix them. We sit in a circle—
everyone needs to be seen and heard. Everyone is included. We talk about what
students notice works well or didn’t work well and we problem solve together.

Student partnerships during academic times allow for great cognitive growth as
well. In my classroom, students have both a writing partner and a reading partner.
When students have someone else to bounce ideas off of and share their work with,
amazing things happen. Sometimes I think they understand how to help each other
better than I do! Without doubt, students learn from talking to each other about
their learning.

The same is true with small groups, which I use frequently in all subject areas,
particularly math. I have started using a combination of mixed-ability and
homogeneous grouping in math, which has been enlightening to me. In both types
of groupings, students learn greatly from talking to each other about what they are

To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills:

cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

This principle makes me think of classroom management. I actively teach these

social skills during the first six weeks of school and throughout the year. Once
students have an idea of what we need to accomplish in our classroom during the
school year, we sit down together to brainstorm ideas for two sets of rules—one for
our “meetings” and one for our classroom as a whole. Once I have helped students
consolidate their ideas into common themes, I phrase the rules into positives. For
example, “no name calling” may become “use kind words,” and “no running,” may
become “walk.” When students break these rules, as I expect them to do, I refer
back to our classroom discussions that helped us create these rules and why they
are important to us as learners. My “teacher language” also hinges on these
principles. I try to give students ownership over their behaviors and actions, so my
management language is not punitive—it is meant to guide students towards
solutions. I want students to see their actions in terms of how they affect their
learning and the learning of those around them—to see themselves as critical
members of our community. I find that when students do feel like important
members of a community, classroom management is much smoother.

Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as

important as knowing the content we teach.

I have already reflected on this principle in my comments above, so I won’t repeat

myself. An additional way that the teachers at UMS get to know our students prior to
the beginning of the school year is through transition meetings with the previous
grade level teacher. I find myself going back to the notes I take during these
meetings quite frequently, and I visit the classroom teachers as necessary to ask
clarifying questions/advice about my students throughout the school year. These
informal discussions (guided by the Learning Profile) are immensely useful! I can
teach my content all day long, but if I am not adapting it to the unique needs of the
students I teach, it’s not effective. Having this knowledge of my students before the
school year begins helps me to “hit the ground running.”

Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is
essential to children's education.

I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Here are a few things I do to ensure
that families are partners with me in their child’s education:

• Family Questionnaire: This is sent home prior to the first day of school. It asks
families about their child and their hopes and dreams for their child in first
grade. It also gives me basic information about the family structure.
• Family Letter: I sent home a letter during the summer to introduce myself to
families and tell them that I would like to keep lines of communication open. I
invite them to several events at the beginning of the school year to help make
sure this happens.
• Ice Cream Social/Open House: In August, families are invited to an ice cream
social on an evening during the week before school starts. They can pick up
their child’s home-school folder and simply chat with me and other families.
The Open House is a school-wide event, unlike the ice cream social (a grade-
level event). Students and parents can come in to see the classroom, chat
with me, etc.
• Classroom Newsletters: My partner teacher and I write a monthly newsletter
to help parents stay in touch. We always include our email address and school
phone number so parents feel they can get in touch with us when they need
• Classroom Blog: This is new this
year and it has been GREAT! I created a blog and a wiki to help keep families
in touch with the daily life of our classroom. The feedback has been hugely
positive. I do have about 4 families without internet access. I have invited
them to come in to view the blog but most have not responded. This is why I
still do a printed newsletter each month. I have found blogging more effective
than the traditional webpage, as I can control the content from anywhere—
unlike the process with updating our school web pages.
• Classroom Volunteers: Parents are invited to volunteer for my first grade
cooking program (literacy connection), our first grade volunteer reading
program, Four Winds (a volunteer-run science program), and to help with
parties and special events. I would like to have more reading/writing/math
celebrations during the year besides just our school-wide Open House in the
• Conferences/Phone Calls: Parent-teacher conferences as well as informal
phone calls and meetings are very useful in getting to know parents and
letting them know that we are in this together—we both have their child’s best
interests in mind!

How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual

competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

I couldn’t agree more, and I think I work in THE BEST building for this to happen. We
are a harmonious, hard-working staff, and we model the value and importance of
community for our students each day. Our school-wide meetings (like the Morning
Meeting, except the whole school attends) are just one example of the community
that exists at UMS. We are all committed to Responsive Classroom, and this shared
vision really does impact all we do.

I found this list of classroom practices on I

want to include them in my reflection since I believe they illustrate the
interconnectedness between Differentiated Instruction and Responsive

Classroom Practices

At the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach are ten classroom practices:

Morning Meeting - gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another,
share news, and warm up for the day ahead

Rule Creation - helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment

that allows all class members to meet their learning goals

Interactive Modeling - teaching children to notice and internalize expected

behaviors through a unique modeling technique

Positive Teacher Language - using words and tone as a tool to promote

children's active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline

Logical Consequences - responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children

to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity

Guided Discovery - introducing classroom materials using a format that

encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility

Academic Choice - increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-

structured choices in their work

Classroom Organization - setting up the physical room in ways that encourage

students' independence, cooperation, and productivity

Working with Families - creating avenues for hearing parents' insights and
helping them understand the school's teaching approaches

Collaborative Problem Solving - using conferencing, role playing, and other

strategies to resolve problems with students
Title of the Unit:
Solids and Liquids in First Grade
Teacher: Erin Sorenson Grade Level: 1st Duration (weeks): 3-4 weeks

Over-arching CONCEPT Change

Sub-concept: Solids and Liquids

• What is matter?
Essential Questions • What are the properties of a solid?
• What are the properties of a liquid?
• How does matter change state?
• How does the ability of matter to change state make a
difference in our daily lives?

As a result of this unit, students • Everything around us is matter.

will UNDERSTAND… • We can describe solids and liquids using words that describe
their attributes and properties.
• The ability of matter to change from liquid to solid and from
solid to liquid has an effect on our daily lives.
• Many solids and liquids can change state when heat is applied
or taken away.
• Scientists use specific skills in their work.

As a result of this unit, students • Content vocabulary: matter, property, solid, liquid, change in
will KNOW… state, substance, and more (see Colchester Science
Curriculum Draft, March 2007).
• Inquiry vocabulary: experiments, predicting, data
• Objects are made of many types of materials.
• Solids have the properties of hardness, color, and the ability
to maintain shape.
• A solid has a definite shape that will not change when the
solid is moved from one place to another. A force must be
applied or energy exerted to change the shape of a solid.
• Liquids have the properties of color, tendency to flow, ability
to mix with other liquids, and taking the shape of the given
• Liquids have no shape of their own, but they do have
constant volume—6 ounces of water is the same in a tall
glass versus a short glass (even though it may look like more
or less).
• Some materials exist in both solid and liquid states.
• Heating and cooling can change states of matter.
• The states of liquids and solids remain constant in some
circumstances (ex: solids remain solid when broken; liquids
remain liquid when poured), but may change in other
circumstances (ex: liquids may freeze when the temperature
drops; solids may melt when heated).
• Some solids and liquids can be combined to make useful
• Water is unique because it is the only substance that occurs
naturally in all three states (solid, liquid, gas) on our Earth.
• Name two or more properties of solids and liquids.
As a result of this unit, students • Compare/contrast solids and liquids.
will be able to DO…. • Sort and classify items as solids or liquids based on their
• Use appropriate vocabulary in describing their investigations,
explorations, and observations (ex: liquids can be viscous,
clear, runny, greasy, etc.; solids can be granular, hard,
opaque, etc.)
• Give an example of when the state of a liquid remains
constant. (Do the same for a solid.)
• Give an example of when the state of a liquid changes. (Do
the same for a solid.)
• Name a useful example of mixing a solid with a liquid in
your daily life.
• Name an example of a solid that does not mix with a liquid in
your daily life.
• Ask questions.
• Make observations.
• Carry out simple experiments.
• Interpret data related to changing solids to liquids and liquids
to solids.
• Work independently.
• Work cooperatively.
• Describe how the ability of matter to change states affects our
Pre-assessment • Complete a R-A-N chart (the columns are as follows: What
we THINK we know, Confirmed, New/Revised Information,
• Sorting activity (one-on-one): Students visit my table and sort
a variety of objects in a basket labeled “solids” and a basket
labeled “liquids.”
• Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences
Differentiated Instructional • Brainstorming
Strategies used in the Unit • Children’s literature (both fiction and nonfiction)
• Songs
• Poems
• Activity Sheets
• Graphic Organizers (paper and electronic)
• Learning Stations
• Think-Pair-Share
• Pre-assessment
• Small-group investigations
• Student choice concerning groupings
• Student choice regarding activities
• Tiered assignments
• Choices regarding how to convey new knowledge (varied
assessment tasks)
• Use of technology

Anchor Activities—When students have finished their differentiated activities they will have a menu of
activities from which to choose.

• Browse the Solids and Liquids book tub.

• Write a riddle about a solid or a liquid.
• Use websites with solids and liquids activities:
2/SolidsandLiquids/index.html and
• Make an ABC book of solids and liquids—draw pictures and use invented spelling to come up
with a solid or liquid that begins with each letter of the alphabet.
• Create a collage of solids or a collage of liquids—use pictures of items from catalogs/magazines.
• Complete a Start-Change-End diagram to show the change of a solid to a liquid or a liquid to a
solid (could be a recap of an experiment we’ve done in class or a new idea).
• Sort solids/liquids according to their properties: solids (color, hardness) liquids (color, viscosity).
• Choose a solids and liquids poem and illustrate/complete to put in your Poetry/Song notebook.
• Write a “how to” book about a solids/liquids experiment we did in class or write an experiment of
your own that explores solids/liquids.
• Make up a song or play that will teach the class about solids/liquids or changing states of matter.
• Conduct sink/float experiments.
• Create structures with solid objects of many types.
• Create art using solids and liquids.
Tentative Schedule for Solids and Liquids Unit
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Jan. 11 Jan. 12 Jan. 13 Jan. 14 Jan. 15
Introduction and Pre- Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4

• R-A-N Chart
• Read What is
Begin investigation
of solids using Foss
• Foss • Foss
the World Investigation 1, Investigation 1,
• Individual pre- Kit lesson:
Made Of? Lesson 1 (Part 2): Lesson 2:
assessment Investigation 1,
• Revise R-A-N Lesson 1 (Part 1):
Sorting Solid Building Solids
Objects Structures
• Begin Folder Properties of Solid
Do Sorting Game as whole (small groups)—
cover Objects
group and then with a take digital
partner photo of
building for
Solids and
Liquids folder
Mini book for folders: My
Book of Solids
Jan. 18 Jan. 19 Jan. 20 Jan. 21 Jan. 22
NO SCHOOL Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8-Catch
Students will work on a
Solids and Liquids Station
• Foss Investigation 2, • Foss Investigation 2, Part • Foss Investigation 2:

Contract all week!! Part 1: Liquids in 2: Properties of Liquids Liquid Level Make mini-book for Solids
Bottles and Liquids folder: My Book
1) Use Properties of Liquids Two Stations: of Liquids
½ the class does liquids grid (Student Sheet #8) on 1) Liquid Level in a Bottle
investigation, rest of Smartboard or overhead to Activity (Student Sheet When finished, student
the class works on help guide discussion of #18) choice:
an anchor activity properties. Play “Guess 2) Water-in-Containers 1) Float or Sink
(see KUD for the Common Property” Center (Student Sheet Activities
anchor activity 2) Students then Choose to #17) (Student Sheet
ideas) play Memory or Go Fish #20)
to practice identifying 2) Liquids Collage
properties of liquids. 3) Anchor Activity-
See KUD, or
other activities
introduced in
Investigation 1 or
Jan. 25 Jan. 26 Jan. 27 Jan. 28 Jan. 29
Lesson 9: Solids that Act Lesson 10: Making Ice Lesson 11: Melting Snow— Lesson 12: Toothpaste Lesson 13: Changing State
Like Liquids (exploring Pops—Exploring the Exploring the change from Investigation—FOSS Exploration
small solids—rice, beans, change from liquid to solid to liquid Investigation 4: Part 3
sand, etc) solid
1) Students complete 1) Do first part of
• Finish Toothpaste
Foss Investigation 3; Part 1 1) Students participate in “Snowy Science” pages Toothpaste Investigation THEN
process, summarize in Investigation as whole • Do new
1) Students rotate how-to book or start-
2) Solids and Liquids
group “experiment”:
Station Contract work -Silly Putty
through explore station change-end diagram 2) Solids and
Liquids Station -Butter
2) Rest of class 2) Solids and
Contract work -Making Crystals, etc.
works on Solids and Liquids Station
Liquids Station Station Contract work

Feb. 1 Feb. 2 Feb. 3 Feb. 4 Feb. 5

Sometime during this Assessment: Continue Assessment

• Sorting Work on finishing up Station
Culminating Experience: Liquids and Contract Work
Co-op time rotation Solids (same
between all four first grade as pre-
classrooms: assessment)
1) Making Oobleck • Multiple
2) Making Intelligences
whipped cream “Choice”
3) Making Jello Assessment
4) Melting Work on finishing up
chocolate to Station Contract Work
make chocolate
candies in molds
Note on timing of unit for 1st grade team: Our next science unit is “The Night Sky,” which will include a study of the moon
phases. The next new moon after this unit is February 14th, which would be a good starting point for our unit. This would give
us a bit of wiggle room to complete Solids and Liquids activities the week of February 8th, since the 100th Day of School will
likely fall some around Feb. 3rd. Even though the unit will run into February break, students can still keep a moon log with their
families over vacation. The unit can continue until the next new moon (or beyond if necessary—March 15th). This then leaves
time to study Weather in mid-March through April vacation, and then of course it’s CHICKS, CHICKS, CHICKS in May!
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson: Introduction
Duration: One class period
Title: Creating our class Teacher Notes:
R-A-N chart/conduct pre-
Guiding Questions: What do you THINK you know about This is similar to the K-W-L
solids/liquids? format, but it does a better
job of determining student
How can we change a solid to a liquid or misconceptions. These
a liquid to a solid? misconceptions can be
addressed in future lessons.
What do you WONDER about solids and Also, students are often more
liquids? motivated if they know that
we will try to answer their
questions (“wonderings”)
during our unit. If I can help
students discover answers to
their questions, their
motivation is higher.

Whole Group Instruction: Explain that we are beginning a new This was very eye-opening
science unit about solids and liquids! and provided for some good
Explain that we will be seeking answers discussion. Students do seem
to Essential Questions (see K-U-D). Read to have some background
the Essential Questions to students knowledge about the topic,
students and discuss. but there are definitely some
misconceptions. Many
Show students the book that we will read students want to know about
in the next lesson, What is the World solids and liquids and how
Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and they relate to space—Is the
Gases by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. sun a solid or liquid?, What
are the rings of Saturn made
Ask the Guiding Questions and record of?, etc. Many also want to
student responses in the R-A-N chart. know why things change
Differentiated Activities: Use of visuals to go with verbal The chart was useful and
information—charting student ideas, students especially seemed to
questions, etc. like the “Wonderings”
The R-A-N is being used as part of pre- section. It gave them time to
assessment and is a way of engaging reflect on what they might
students in what we will learn and to like to learn.
determine students’ pre-existing
knowledge and readiness. In the next
lesson, the R-A-N chart will be used
again as a reading comprehension
Asssessment: Conduct pre-assessment sorting activity Wow! I have never done this
and record results on class checklist: before and it was quite
enjoyable and valuable. Most
Students come to teacher’s table and sort students have a lot of
objects into baskets labeled solid, liquid, misconceptions about what is
not sure. a solid and what is a liquid,
and many are not sure about
many items—especially
sand, salt, shaving cream,
and popcorn kernels.
Students seemed to enjoy it
too and were not at all
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson: 1
Duration: One class period

Title: What is Matter? Teacher Notes:

Guiding Question: • What is matter? Students know that I will try to
• What are the three different find out a little about what they
types of matter? * already know before we begin
a lesson.
*Note: There are three states of
matter, but we are truly
focusing on solids and liquids
in this unit. Gases will of
course be mentioned and
explored briefly, but students
of this age can gain better
understanding of solids/liquids
because they are visible and
can be easily manipulated.
Whole Group Instruction: • Ask students if they have It was good to look back at our
ever heard of the word chart while reading the book.
“matter” used in a Students liked being able to see
scientific way. if they’re “What we think we
• Look back at the R-A-N know” section ideas were right
chart created in the or wrong. There are still some
introduction lesson. definite misconceptions about
Explain that as we read the small solids (salt, sand, rice,
book (What is the World glitter, etc.) being liquids
Made of?),we will change because they pour. Students
the chart as necessary. wanted to discuss gases as
• Read the book What is the well. There are some
World Made Of? All About misconceptions about the Sun
Solids, Liquids, and Gases being a solid, as well as the
by Kathleen Zoehfeld, rings around the planets. I
which is a non-fiction don’t think we’ll have enough
children’s book that time to truly explore these
introduces the concept of concepts until our “Night Sky”
matter in “kid-friendly” unit.
• Make changes on the R-A-
N chart and discuss.

Differentiated Activities: Student choice activities to I was really surprised how

demonstrate their understanding of many students decided to write
matter (designed to accommodate a list of examples of solids and
multiple intelligences). liquids. I expected to students
• Draw an example of each to choose to draw them, but the
type of matter or write a split was about 50/50. No one
list in the T-chart. opted for the short story, and I
• Write a list of examples of decided not to use the Flip
the three types of matter. Camera, as I wanted everyone
• Write a short story that to have a page for their Solids
includes examples of the and Liquids folders as evidence
three types of matter. of their thinking at the
• Think of an example of beginning of the unit.
each type of matter and be
prepared to say it to the
“Flip Video” camera.
If students have extra time, begin
folder cover.
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson: 2
Duration: One class period

Title: Properties of a Solid Teacher Notes:

Guiding Question: • What are the properties of This lesson will help children
a solid? develop the necessary
• What words can we use to vocabulary to express their
describe a solid? ideas throughout this unit.
Students will need to
understand the three basic
properties of a solid: has
weight, takes up space, has a
definite shape. They will also
need to use describing words
(attributes) when talking about
various solids.
Whole Group Instruction: • Review concepts learned I ended up doing this activity
about solids in What is the with small, mixed-ability
World Made Of? (the book groupings because of a parent-
we read in yesterday’s lead activity (not related to this
lesson). Have children unit) that was happening in the
name some solids. room at the same time. We
• Show children the graphic rotated students through
organizer “Properties of a stations, and this was one of
Solid” on the Smartboard. the stations. Students loved
Discuss the properties. being able to touch and hold
• Explain that we can use the solid objects, and they
attributes (special made great observations about
describing words) to the similarities and differences.
describe solids and this is I was impressed with how
what we will do today. quickly they took on the new
• SEE FOSS Science Kit vocabulary and applied it to the
Investigation 1, Lesson 1 materials quite accurately.
on Solids. “Rigid” was perhaps the most
difficult word to learn.
Differentiated Activities: • This will be a teacher-led Students did work with each
discussion, with students other to sort and discuss
working in mixed-ability properties, but this was done in
partnerships to sort and small groups. Everyone wanted
discuss properties of solids. to complete their own table,
• Tiering option: although I did offer the option
Students can choose to of helping me fill out a chart
complete their own and then everyone who could
table (Foss have a copy. They seemed to
Investigation 1, enjoy doing it.
Lesson 1) or simply
follow along with Students naturally started
filling it in on the making comparisons and
Smartboard. putting things together by
• Can also invite likenesses, which was great to
students to sort objects see!
by various attributes
using hula hoops to

Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation

• Anecdotal notes
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson: 3
Duration: One or two class periods

Title: Sort Solid Objects Teacher Notes:

FOSS Investigation 1, Part 2
Guiding Questions: • What are the properties of
a solid?
• What words can we use to
describe a solid?
• How are solids alike and
Whole Group Instruction: See FOSS Investigation 1,
Part 2: Sort Solid Objects
Differentiated • Introduce activity as whole I ended up doing this activity
Activities/Extensions: group, then students can over two days. I introduced the
choose to complete the “Guess My Property” game
sorting activity in using a great piece of
partnerships or technology in my room—the
independently. Come back document camera. Students
and share on rug when had to pick two solids with a
done. property in common and
• Modeling: Use overhead choose students to guess the
projector or hula hoops to common property. I modeled it
show sorting. first, of course.
• Readiness: Some students
will need to work in small The next day, students from the
group or individually with class next door came in and my
teacher to complete this students taught them the game,
activity. and we all played together.
• Class discussion will help
students better grasp I then offered the two
properties of solids. assessment choices.
• Add to Word Bank
Students LOVED this game!
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation I did note that a few students
• Students complete Sorting were using the property
Circle Page independently vocabulary incorrectly, and I
and can choose how to offered them more practice
share what they do: with me in small groups or
1. Draw it and write the individually.
property on the Sorting
Circle page. All but two students chose to
2. Explain how they tell about their sorting to the
sorted to the Flip Video Flip Video camera. I was not
camera. surprised by this. Both were
effective means of assessment.
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson: 4
Duration: One or two class periods

Title: Construct with Solids Teacher Notes:

FOSS Investigation 1, Part 3
Guiding Questions: • What are the properties of
a solid?
• How can we use our
knowledge of the
properties of solids to
construct with our solid
• What solids would make a
good bridge, tower, house,
• What properties are most
useful for the top of a
tower? For the base of the
Whole Group Instruction: See FOSS Investigation 1, I introduced the challenge as a
Part 3: Construct with whole group, but students
Solids could work individually or in
partnerships. I ended up having
Students will work in small more materials than I had
groups to build due to anticipated.
limited materials. Rest of
class can work on “My
Book of Solids” mini book
to go inside their Solids
and Liquids folders.
Differentiated • Introduce activity as whole I ended up differentiated this
Activities/Extensions: group, then students can lesson more than I had
work in small groups anticipated:
(mixed ability).
• Add to Word Bank It was differentiated by choice:
• Students can write about students could choose WHAT
their constructions, label to build: a tower, a building, or
the parts, etc. if they a bridge.
• Math Problem A and B It was differentiated by
(p.25-26) would be good learning style: children could
extensions to do during decide whether to work alone
Math Workshop or with another student.

It was tiered—I expected

students who had demonstrated
proficiency with the properties
of solids to tell me about their
construction using appropriate
property vocabulary. Those
who were still working on
those terms worked with me to
use them when we discussed
their constructions.

We did not get to do the

labeling or Math extensions
due to lack of time, but would
like to try to fit that in during
future days.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation It was interesting to see who
chose to work alone and who
chose to work with a partner. I
was surprised that some
students who normally love to
work with others decided to go
solo, and vice versa.

Additionally, a few
partnerships worked in a
parallel fashion—they shared
ideas and then each created
their own construction. I had
anticipated that they would
pool materials to make
something bigger, since every
person was given the same
amount of materials. Very few
students actually pooled their

This activity appealed to

MOST students in the class,
but it was uncomfortable for a
few—which I would attribute
to learning style differences
and strengths in different
multiple intelligences. This
seemed like an activity that
would appeal most to the
Bodily-Kinesthetic and Logical
Mathematic intelligences.
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 5
Duration: One class period

Title: Liquids in Bottles (See

FOSS Investigation 2, Part 1)
p.13 in Teacher Guide Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • What are the properties of
• How are these liquids alike
and different?
• How do liquids move?
Whole Group Instruction: • Introduce and discuss I changed my instruction a
students’ job at the liquids little bit for this lesson—I
investigation center today: introduced a Solids and
to work with a partner and Liquids Station Contract (see
find out as much as they appendices) with “Have-to”
can about the liquids in the and choice activities for
bottles to learn about their students to complete
properties. throughout the week. Many of
• Introduce other activity these were anchor activities
choices, options include listed in the Unit KUD.
solids activities from Week Students worked on their
1 (constructions, Lap Book “Contracts” while I pulled
components, etc.), small groups aside to explore
completing the “Liquids” the liquids. This worked really
poem sheet, writing a well!
Solids or Liquids riddle,
etc. (See anchor activities
list in Unit KUD)
• Break into two groups to
complete liquids
investigation or choice
activity, then rotate.
Differentiation: • Working in partnerships— Once students got the hang of
student choice. it, they loved the Solids and
• Student choice in Liquids Station Contract! I
supporting activity— think they like the element of
differentiating by interest. choice it gives them—they do
• Solids and Liquids Station have to complete all the “Have
Contract to” activities, but they can do
as many choice activities as
they wish, or return to the same
one over and over (and many
students did—they LOVE the
construction with solids
This also gives students choice
in how they manage their time,
who they work with, and what
they do.
Assessment: • Anecdotal or use Most students needed my
Assessment Checklist prompting to make the liquids
(Sheet #3)—take note of exploration a valuable activity,
how students approach the but a few did not need my
investigation at the liquids guidance. I was impressed with
center. Are they exhibiting the vocabulary that a few
the behaviors of a scientist students already had about
(observation, exploration, liquids and their properties.
questioning, etc.) and not
just playing? They could choose to explore
for a few minutes or to stay
longer. About 4 students loved
exploring how the liquids
moved and seemed like they
could have stayed their for 30
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 6
Duration: One class period

Title: Properties of Liquids(See

FOSS Investigation 2, Part 2)
p.15 in Teacher Guide Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • What are the properties of
• How are these liquids alike
and different?
• How do liquids move?
Whole Group Instruction: • Display the six properties Due to time constraints, I was
posters (Sheet #9-14) and unable to introduce the games.
show the bottles of liquids: Also, there was some general
water, fabric softener, corn confusion about the difference
syrup, colored water, between transparent and
cooking oil, liquid dish translucent, so it seemed smart
detergent, liquid hand to either wait to introduce the
soap. Use Properties of games, or forego them
Liquids (Student Sheet #7) altogether. Due to the time left
to help guide discussion. in the unit, I’m guessing I’ll
• Show liquids and discuss just save them for another year.
properties—invite student
observations, group liquids “Guess the Common” property
by common properties— was a valuable way to help
play “Guess the Common clear up misuse of the property
Property.” vocabulary.
• Once students seem to be
using the vocabulary The Go Fish and Memory
easily, introduce Go Fish games would help firm up the
and Memory card games. vocab, but this is not important
enough to the Understandings I
want students to come away
with to take any more time to
go back to those.
Differentiation: • Differentiation by interest: Could not do this component.
-Students choose a game to
play to practice identifying
properties (Go Fish or
• Differentiation by Because of students’ difficulty
Learning Style and with the properties of liquids
Interest: vocabulary, I decided to do this
-Students can work activity (the Properties of
independently or with a Liquids grid) as a whole class,
partner (learning style using the document camera to
preference) to complete the show the liquids up close for
Properties of Liquids grid all to see, and to display the
(some students do not learn grid. It made for great
best from games but do discussion and everyone will
better with a more get a copy of the grid to put in
structured format to their Solids and Liquids
analyze information, such folders.
as a grid.)

Assessment: • Note whether or not

students are beginning to
use the new words for
liquid properties on the
Assessment Checklist
(Sheet #2—Column 2.2
liquid properties
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 7
Duration: One class period

Title: Liquid Level (See FOSS Teacher Notes:

Investigation 2, Part 3) p. 24
Guiding Questions: • What are the properties of
• How are these liquids alike
and different?
• How do liquids move?
• What is the shape of a
• What happens to the
surface of a liquid as it is
tipped in a container?
• How are liquids different
than solids?

Whole Group Instruction: • See FOSS Lesson for full After some consideration, I
details. decided to do the Liquids in
• Introduce liquid levels— Containers activity as a whole
students close their eyes group. The concept that the
and imagine a glass half same amount of water looks
full of water tipping and drastically different in different
just about to spill. sized containers but is still the
• Show Liquid Level in a same amount (conservation of
Bottle Sheet (Student Sheet volume??) is a very hard
#18) and explain student concept. Students benefitted
job. from discussing this as a whole
• Show Liquids in group.
Containers Sheet (Student
Sheet #18) and explain Students worked on their
student job. Model actions. Solids and Liquids Contract
• It would be helpful to have Activities while I pulled
an adult at each station if students aside in small groups
possible to help students to do the Liquid Level in a
move bottles, pour water, Bottle activity.
and record observations.
Some students needed to finish
• Half the class will do one
activities on the first contract,
investigation and then
and some were ready to move
rotate to other
onto the second contract.
Those who had been putting
• Meet on rug and ask off some of the “have to”
questions on p. 26 (Step 8). activities were motivated to
finish contract #1 so they could
begin the next contract.
Differentiated Activities: • Work • I noticed that students
independently or with needed a bit more support
partner to complete with the vocabulary for
activities. properties of liquids. So, to
• Multiple modes of offer more support before
discovering new they began the activities on
information—discussion their Station Contract, I did
before, during and after a web diagram (a type of
activity; hands-on graphic organizer) with
exploration; recording “Liquids have many
data. properties. Liquids can
• Tiering option: If be…” in the center bubble.
drawing the liquid levels Several smaller bubbles
is too hard/frustrating for extended from the main
some students, allow them bubble: transparent,
to verbally explain what translucent, colored,
they see happening. If a viscous, foamy, and
record is desired, take bubbly. We brainstormed
notes or record with Flip liquids they know of with
camera. these properties to get them
• Solids and Liquids ready to do the Liquids
Station Contract Poem activity, the Liquids
Riddle, and the Liquids
mini book, as well as to
improve knowledge of
these terms in general.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
• Assessment Checklist
(Sheet #2—two columns
labeled 2.3—liquids take
shape of container and
liquid level)
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 8
Duration: One class period

Title: Catch Up
Time/Exploration: Liquids Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • What are the properties of
• How are these liquids alike
and different?
• How do liquids move?
• What is the shape of a
• What happens to the
surface of a liquid as it is
tipped in a container?
• How are liquids and solids
Whole Group Instruction: The timeline for the lessons so farI decided to continue with the
has been somewhat aggressive, so Solids and Liquids Station
this is a day to catch up/finish upContract concept. I added more
on lessons and activities. If this is
activities in both columns:
not needed, here are some “Have to” and “Choices” for
suggested activities: students to work on while we
work on small group core
1) All students should lesson activities. The activities
complete My Book of for the Contract were taken
Liquids to put in their from the list on the left and
Solids and Liquids Folders. from the anchor activities listed
in the KUD.

Then, students could choose from Note: The activities on the left
the following extension activities are included in the Solids and
(or others, at the teacher’s Liquids Station Contract #2.
discretion): This was an idea that I came up
with AFTER the unit started.
• Float or Sink Activities
(Student Sheet #20)
• Make a Liquids collage
• Math Extension A
(Student Sheet No. 33)
• Complete Liquids
poem for Poetry/Song
• Write a Liquids riddle
using properties
Differentiated Activities: • Student choice of
activities, which represent
a variety of
interests/learning styles
but are all centered around
the same topic—
properties of liquids.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 9
Duration: One or two class period

Title: Solids that act like liquids

(See FOSS Investigation 3: Teacher Notes:
Solids in Containers)
Guiding Questions: • Are these materials solids
or liquids?
• How are these small solids
like liquids?
• How are they different than
• What other solids are
powdery, lumpy, or
Whole Group Instruction: This lesson gets into the This went really well, and
solids that don’t seem like children enjoyed exploring the
solids in every way and are “tiny solids,” as we started
often hard for students to calling them. It worked well to
identify as solids—rice, have mixed groupings of five
beans, popcorn kernels, students rotate through the
sand, salt, sugar, etc. The station—there were five trays
materials could be changed set up (mung beans, rice,
—this is just what was cornmeal, pinto beans, and
suggested in the FOSS lima beans). Students seemed
lessons. to grasp that these are all
• Introduce new solids, even though when they
materials: cornmeal, rice, are together they take on some
mung beans, pinto beans, of the properties of liquids (can
and lima beans. Discuss be poured, take on the shape of
what students know about another container, etc.).
each one.
• Describe the Offering another Station
“Center Challenge”—what Contract was a popular thing—
students will do at the the sand table and Sink/Float
center (See p. 11 of activities were the definite
Investigation 3, Part 1) favorites.
(Basically, students will
investigate the materials in
small groups at a station
and will find out as much
as they can about each one
and compare to the solids
and liquids we have
already learned about.)
• If not doing the
“Center Challenge,”
students should work on
their Solids and Liquids
Station contract.
• End session by
coming together as a whole
group and discussing
questions on p. 13 in
Investigation 3
Differentiated Activities: • Small groups—
mixed ability
• Solids and Liquids
Station Contract
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 10
Duration: One class period

Changing Liquid to a Solid: Teacher Notes:
Making Ice Pops

Guiding Questions: • Is orange juice a solid or a

• How can we make this
orange juice change to a
• What makes juice freeze to
a solid? (Cold—Freezing
• Can the juice change back
from a liquid to a solid?
• What other liquids can you
think of that change to
Whole Group Instruction: • Ask Guiding Students definitely “got” that
Questions the liquid is the OJ and the
• Teacher pours or solid is the ice pop. Their
students pour juice into engagement and enthusiasm
small paper cups and put was high.
foil or plastic wrap over the
top. Then poke a craft stick It was interesting to see the
through top into the middle students who usually struggle
of the cup. can really shine in the area of
• Freeze for 3 or science and scientific
more hours. explanations, when done
• Students eat ice orally.
pops when done. Ask
students to answer Guiding
Questions again…discuss
what they see—some may
be slushy, some may start
to melt, etc.
Differentiated/Extension • Cross-curricular I had students all do procedural
Activities: extension—Writing writing during Writing
Workshop: How-to Workshop, but I wish I would
(procedural) writing. Have have offered the choice. Next
students all write “How to time!
make an ice pop” to exhibit
understanding of process.

• Students create a
start-change-end diagram.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation

1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids

Lesson 11
Duration: One class period

Changing from Solid to Liquid: Teacher Notes:
Melting Snow

Guiding Questions: • Do you think snow is a

solid or a liquid?
• What makes you think
snow is liquid? Solid?
• What do you think will
happen to your cup of
snow now that it’s inside?
• How long do you think it
will take the snow to melt?
• Why did the snow melt?
Whole Group Instruction: • Bring students Again, a high interest activity.
outside with cups—clear Always worthwhile. Thinking
plastic cups labeled with of snowflakes as a solid was a
student names. Students fill stretch for some, but they
their cups 1/3 way with definitely see the pile of snow
snow. Bring inside. in the cup as a solid and know
Teacher fills two plastic that it takes heat to make the
trays with snow. snow turn to liquid.
• Have children fill
in first box on Snowy
Science page 1 and first
two boxes on page 2: draw
what cup of snow looks
like when first brought
inside and then draw what
each pan of snow looks like
when first brought in.
• Ask Guiding
• Do Snowy Science
pages 1 and 2 with students
(use Smartboard or
overhead projector).
• Discuss findings.
Differentiated/Extension • Hands-on Students loved being scientists
Activities: experiment and filling out our
• Visual to go with observational data form. I did
written information model using the form on the
• If students have Smartboard. This helped
great difficulty doing greatly and allowed us to do
written work, teacher can this as a whole group activity
provide a copy of what was (for time purposes).
observed by class and
written on
projector, or another adult
can scribe for the student.
• Recording of
observations could be done
in small groups rather than
whole group.
• Students work on
Solids and Liquids Station
Contract work while
Snowy Science pages are
done in small groups or
after it’s been completed as
a whole group.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
• Student recordings on
Snowy Science pages.
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 12
Duration: Two class periods—One full and one 20-minute session
FOSS Investigation 4: Part 3—
Toothpaste Investigation Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • Do you think toothpaste is
a solid or a liquid?
• What makes you think
toothpaste is liquid? Solid?
• What could we do to find
out if toothpaste is a liquid
or a solid?
Whole Group Instruction: • See FOSS Wow! Students showed me
Investigation 4: Part 3: they have some great
Toothpaste Investigation. understandings about what
• Guide students in makes a solid a solid and a
doing Investigating liquid a liquid. They were able
Toothpaste: Student Sheet to say whether they thought
No. 30—could be done in toothpaste was a liquid or solid
small groups or with whole or both and could back up their
group. assertions. Shows that they are
• Discuss findings. truly understanding the

Differentiated/Extension • Hands-on I added making a Venn

Activities: experiment Diagram to compare how
• Visual to go with toothpaste is like a solid or
written information. liquid or both. The class
• If students have concluded that it is neither one
great difficulty doing and it has properties of both.
written work, teacher can
provide a copy of what was We used the document on the
observed by class and Smartboard and completed our
written on initial observations together on
Smartboard/overhead the rug with students doing the
projector, or another adult sheets with a clipboard and
can scribe for the student. pencil while looking at the
• Recording of Smartboard.
observations could be done
in small groups rather than For second observation,
whole group. students worked in pairs or
• Students work on individually.
Solids and Liquids Station
Contract work while
Snowy Science pages are
done in small groups or
after it’s been completed as
a whole group.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
• Student recordings on
Invest. Toothpaste page.

1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids

Lesson 13
Duration: One Class Period

Title: Changing State

Exploration (Finish Toothpaste
Investigation and do another
changing state experiment)
Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • What makes a solid change
to a liquid?
• What makes a liquid
change to a solid?
• Can you think of why
liquids changing to solid
and solids to liquids is
important in our world?

Whole Group Instruction: • See FOSS

Investigation 4: Part 3:
Toothpaste Investigation.
• Discuss findings.

Teacher can choose an experiment

based on class interest or learning
needs. Some suggestions:

Making Silly Putty: explores We made silly putty and it was

mixing solids and liquids to make VERY popular! Students were
a solid (with interesting able to make great observations
properties!) about how the silly putty is a
Growing Rock Crystals: solid but how it started as a
Explores evaporating water to liquid. What they were sure
separate a mixture of salt and about is why it changed from
water or sugar and water. A liquid to solid. I had to explain
solid/liquid mixture and then back that it was a mixture of special
again to solid. substances that cause the liquid
Making Butter: Changing liquid to become rubbery like a solid
to solid—the change is caused by (glue and liquid starch
temperature, but the change in mixture).
temperature is caused by shaking
and the faster moving molecules.
Less straightforward than heating
something up on stove or bringing
it from outside to inside.

Any of these experiments would

help students prepare for the four
different experiments that will take
place during the 1st Grade co-op

Differentiated/Extension • Hands-on
Activities: experiment based on
student readiness or
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 14
Duration: One Class Period

Title: Changing State

Exploration—Mixing Solids
with Water (Rock Salt and
Water with evaporation)
Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • What will happen when we
mix rock salt and water?
• What happened to the salt?
• What will happen when we
leave the saltwater solution
out for several days?
• Why did this happen?
Whole Group Instruction: Talk through experiment with the
class using the “Salt and Water”
experiment page.

Ask Guiding Questions as


Have students make and record

observations on the page.

Differentiated/Extension • Read Solids and

Activities: Liquids big book section
that corresponds with this
experiment to extend
• Allow students to
work in small groups to
make salt/water solution
and make observations
about their own group’s
bowl of saltwater rather
than having one bowl for
whole class.
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
• Salt and Water experiment
recording sheet
1st Grade Science Unit: Solids and Liquids
Lesson 15
Duration: 1-1/2 hours (four groups rotate through four classrooms, each with a different activity)

Title: Changing State

Exploration—First Grade
Co-op time

Teacher Notes:
Guiding Questions: • What makes a solid change
to a liquid?
• What makes a liquid
change to a solid?
• Can you think of why
liquids changing to solid
and solids to liquids is
important in our world?

Whole Group Instruction: Students will be in mixed

groupings with students from the
other three first grade classrooms.
Each group will rotate through the
following learning experiences:

• Making Whipped Cream

(liquid to solid)
• Making Oobleck (mixing
liquid and solid and
creating a substance with
properties of both)
• Making Jello (mixing
liquid and solid to create
an unusual solid)
• Chocolate (melting and
hardening—solid to liquid
and back to solid when
something is dipped in the
melted chocolate and
allowed to cool).

Each experiment will help children

see how matter changes state and
will help them see how the ability
of matter to change state has an
impact on our world (particularly
in cooking, in the case of these
Differentiated/Extension • Hands-on
Activities: experiments
• Mixed groupings
• Experiential
• Choice in which
experiment they choose to
document (see below).
Assessment (formative) • Teacher observation
• Students will complete a
Start-Change-End diagram
about the activity of their
choice (one of the four
activities they did during
the co-op time).
Lessons to add:

• 1st Grade co-op time activities: Oobleck, Chocolate, Whipped Cream, and Jello.

• Assessment activities and options.