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Building Blocks of Science® 3D: Matter (©2019) 1-Use Unit Kit with Literacy Set

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Grade 2. In 5 lessons spanning 13 class sessions, the Building Blocks of Science® 3D unit Matter introduces students to the 3 states of matter, characteristics of each state, some properties of matter, and physical and chemical changes in matter. Building Blocks of Science® 3D lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Matter 1-Use Unit Kit with Literacy Set includes a teacher's guide (item #514642), 18 on-grade student readers (item #514603), 6 below-grade student readers (item #514603BGR), a license for the teacher and students to access online digital resources, and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit once to a class of up to 24 students.

Along with hands-on learning, this Building Blocks of Science® 3D unit also provides digital resources to enhance the classroom experience. These components offer an additional method of delivering content, particularly for classrooms with consistent access to computers or tablets. Digital components include digital teacher's guide, simulations, digital literacy reader, interactive whiteboard activities, interactive student investigation sheets, and assessment. All digital resources for Building Blocks of Science® 3D are accessible at CarolinaScienceOnline.com.

Unit Summary
Although matter makes up everything that surrounds us, the concept is abstract and often difficult to describe. To help students understand matter, the hands-on investigations in this Building Blocks of Science unit encourage students to manipulate materials, ask questions, and make connections between matter and phenomena. Throughout a series of five lessons, students build upon the concept that all objects are made of smaller parts and those smaller parts are composed of particles. Depending on the state of matter—solid, liquid, or gas—those particles behave differently. Students also explore the effect of mixing different kinds of matter and the effect of adding or taking away energy. This unit is an important introduction to chemistry that students can build upon.

Next Generation Science Standards*
The Building Blocks of Science® 3D unit Matter (©2019) integrates process skills as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards.
Performance Expectations
  • 2-PS1-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
  • 2-PS1-2: Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.
  • 2-PS1-3: Make observations to construct an evidence-based account of how an object made of a small set of pieces can be disassembled and made into a new object.
  • 2-PS1-4: Construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.
  • K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
  • K-2-ETS1-2: Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
  • PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
  • ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Energy and Matter

Common Core State Standards
Language Arts

  • L.2.1: Conventions of Standard English
  • L.2.2: Conventions of Standard English
  • L.2.4: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
  • L.2.5: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
  • L.2.6: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
  • RF.2.3: Phonics and Word Recognition
  • RI.2.1: Key Ideas and Details
  • RI.2.3: Key Ideas and Details
  • RI.2.4: Craft and Structure
  • RI.2.6: Craft and Structure
  • RI.2.7: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • RI.2.8: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • RI.2.9: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • SL.2.1: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.2.2: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • W.2.8: Research to Build and Present Knowledge


  • 2.MD.D.10: Represent and interpret data.
  • 2.G.A.1: Reason with shapes and their attributes.

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1

In this first lesson, students begin to understand the idea that smaller parts can be combined to create large structures. This prepares students for the next lessons, in which they learn about particles and their interactions. As a pre-unit assessment activity, students use Unifix® cubes to create a pyramid structure. The term "specification" is introduced, and students develop their own building requirements for the pyramid structure. Students determine that the same pieces used to construct the pyramid can be rearranged to build other structures. In the next lesson, students will apply these ideas as they learn about particles and the states of matter.
Lesson 2
In Lesson 1, students used Unifix® cubes to build upon the idea that large structures can be made out of smaller, individual pieces. These pieces can be rearranged into different shapes. This concept is further discussed in Lesson 2 as students learn about particles. Students begin by focusing on the three states of matter. By observing water in all three states, students learn that they cannot see the particles of matter but that they can draw conclusions about the way those particles interact. Students use sand, water, and balloons to explore particle motion. In the next lessons, students will continue their exploration of matter by describing the properties of solids and liquids and predicting the outcome of mixing them.
Lesson 3
In the previous lessons, students learned that particles are the building blocks of everything around us, including liquids, solids, and gases. Students have used water, sand, and balloons to explore these states of matter. In Lesson 3, students continue exploring matter by identifying the properties of solids and liquids. Students use words like "malleable," "fluid," and "viscous" to describe different materials. They use these properties to make predictions about how materials will mix. In the next lesson, students will apply concepts about mixtures to compare materials and draw conclusions about how they are used.
Lesson 4
In previous lessons, students learned about states of matter and how to distinguish between them. Students also began to make connections between a material’s properties and its ability to mix with other materials. Lesson 4 builds upon students’ ability to describe the physical properties of materials. Students determine the buoyancy and hardness of several different materials and relate their results to how the material is used in a particular structure or for a task. In the next lesson, students will examine the physical properties of a material to determine the presence of physical or chemical changes. In a final performance task, students will be presented with a scenario and must determine which materials would be best suited for the purpose.
Lesson 5
Students have been building upon their understanding of matter by describing its properties, including the behavior of its particles. They have applied these concepts to describe why certain materials are used to build structures or perform tasks. In Lesson 5, students think about how certain materials might interact with each other. Students observe physical changes by observing the effect of temperature. Chemical changes are also investigated using calcite and vinegar. In a final performance task, students are presented with different scenarios and must determine which materials are suitable to solve a problem.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.

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What’s Included:
  • 1 Teacher's Guide
  • 1 Unit Technology Pack (subscription to CarolinaScienceOnline.com to access digital teacher's guide, digital instructional resources, and digital literacy reader)
  • 18 Matter On-Grade Student Reader
  • Matter Below-Grade Student Reader
  • 12 Ball, Foam, 38 mm, Assorted Colors
  • 12 Balloon, Round, Assorted, 11"
  • 6 Cube, Metal, 2 oz
  • 300 Cube, Unifix®, Red
  • 30 Cube, Unifix®, Blue
  • 8 Cube, Wood, 1"
  • 48 Cup, 1 oz, with Lid
  • 24 Cup, Plastic, 9 oz, Tall
  • 6 Cylinder, Graduated, Plastic, 100 mL
  • 24 Forceps, Plastic, 5"
  • 30 Lens, Hand
  • 6 Pad, Note, Adhesive, 3 x 3"
  • 8 Pipet, Graduated, 3 mL
  • 8 Sponge, Compressed, 3 x 4"
  • 1 Sand, Marine, 5 lb
  • 8 Calcite Specimen
  • 1 Vinegar, White, 1 pt
  • expand to see full list
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