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STC-Middle School™, STC3 Edition: Matter and Its Interactions 1-Class Unit Kit

(in stock)


Grades 6–8. Unit Driving Question: How do matter and its interactions affect everyday life?
Unit Highlight—Although it may not be readily apparent to students, matter is an integral part of their daily lives. Everything students see and touch is made of matter—albeit composed of particles too small to see directly. In order to fully understand phenomena occurring on the macroscale, students must become familiar with matter at the particulate and atomic level. During the Matter and Its Interactions unit, students make observations about matter, investigate its physical and chemical changes, and develop and use models to describe its composition and behavior.

Matter and Its Interactions addresses the performance expectations, and attendant science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts, deemed appropriate for grades 6 through 8 by the Next Generation Science Standards® (NGSS). It helps students develop a better understanding of matter, predict its changes, and apply their understanding to design solutions that utilize chemical processes.

Each lesson in this unit builds on the skills and concepts presented in previous lessons. As students progress through the unit, they take increasing responsibility for their own learning. Eventually, students plan and conduct their own procedures and analyze the results they obtain. Therefore, the unit should be taught in its entirety; it should not be used as a sourcebook of occasional experiments.

To structure and scaffold the development of students' knowledge, skills, and cognitive reasoning, this unit includes three primary lesson types: pre-assessment, skills and knowledge building, and assessment. The pre-assessment lesson allows educators to assess students' preconceptions, misconceptions, and skills. Skills and knowledge building lessons provide multiple opportunities for students to grow and learn through formative assessment. The assessment lesson includes both performance and written assessment activities that function together as a summative assessment of student learning.

This 1-Class Unit Kit comes with a Teacher Edition, teacher access to Carolinascienceonline.com, 16 reusable hardbound Student Guides (item #513203), student eBook access, and the materials needed for a teacher to teach up to 32 students per day.

Next Generation Science Standards®
Performance Expectations

  • MS-PS1-1. Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
  • MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • MS-PS1-3. Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
  • MS-PS1-4. Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
  • MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
  • MS-PS1-6. Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
  • MS-PS3-4. Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
  • ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS1.A: Structure and properties of matter
  • PS1.B: Chemical reactions
  • PS3.A: Definitions of energy
  • ETS1.A: Defining and delimiting engineering problems
  • ETS1.B: Developing possible solutions
  • ETS1.C: Optimizing the design solution

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
  • Connections to Nature of Science: Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence
  • Connections to Nature of Science: Science models laws, mechanisms, and theories to explain natural phenomena

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
  • Connections to engineering, technology, and applications of science: interdependence of science, engineering, and technology
  • Connections to engineering, technology, and applications of science: influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world

Common Core
English Language Arts

  • RI.6.1
  • RI.6.4
  • RST.6-8.1
  • RST.6-8.2
  • RST.6-8.3
  • RST.6-8.4
  • RST.6-8.7
  • RST.6-8.10
  • RI.6.4
  • RI.7.1
  • RI.7.6
  • SL.6.1
  • SL.8.5
  • WHST.6-8.1.a
  • WHST.6-8.1.b
  • WHST.6-8.2
  • WHST.6-8.7


  • 6.EE.A.2.C
  • 6.EE.C.9
  • 8.EE.B.5
  • 6.SPB.4
  • 6.SPB.5A
  • MP2
  • MP4
  • MP5
  • MP7

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment

Focus Question: What do you know about matter?
Students perform eight short investigations that evaluate their existing knowledge of one or more concepts related to matter and its interactions. Students make observations of pure substances and mixtures and determine if new substances are formed. Students also evaluate predictions, use evidence to support claims, and infer cause-and-effect relationships.
Lesson 2: The Nature of Matter
Focus Question: What can properties of matter help you determine?
Students investigate characteristics of matter. Students are introduced to physical and chemical properties and make simple observations of substances they will use later in the unit. Students analyze and interpret data about the physical properties of look-alike substances and attempt to identify which two substances are the same. Next, students are introduced to the concept that different substances react chemically in different ways. Students make observations about substances before and after they interact and form explanations of phenomena they observe. They will also use their knowledge of properties to identify an unknown substance. They go on to use these observations as the basis for analyzing cause-and-effect relationships and describing patterns in physical and chemical reactions.
Lesson 3: Density Makes a Difference
Focus Question: How can density be used to identify a substance and predict how it will behave under different conditions?
Students will focus on one characteristic physical property of substances: density. Students develop procedures that allow them to experimentally calculate the density not of only liquids but also of regular and irregular solids. Next, students predict the appearance of solid and liquid substances when they are combined in a multilayered density column. They then apply their understanding of density as a characteristic property to identify liquids and design a density bottle similar to the one they used in the pre-assessment activity.
Lesson 4: Just a Phase
Focus Question: How is energy related to physical changes in matter?
Students investigate phase changes and develop and use models to predict and describe phenomena. Students use their models to articulate relationships and connections among particle motion, kinetic energy, temperature, and state of matter when thermal energy is added or removed from a system. Students will observe ice water and measure its temperature as it is heated. Students plot the results of their investigation on a graph and annotate the curve with their observations. Students plan and carry out an investigation studying what happens to the mass of water when it changes phase. Students use physical models to answer questions related to conservation of matter and propose explanations of experimental evidence. Finally, students evaluate a computer simulation that models phase changes against their experimental data and propose changes to the particulate models they used during the lesson.
Lesson 5: Building Blocks of Matter
Focus Question: How can you use a model to describe the composition of matter?
Students learn that there are more than 100 elements in existence, and they use models to join atoms of different elements together to form molecules. Students investigate 16 common elements at element stations set up around the classroom. Students use patterns in their observations to classify elements into groups. Next, students use plastic Molymod® models to represent atoms of different elements, and they describe the atomic composition of simple molecules. Students also use computers to construct virtual molecular-level models and view animations of both space-filling and ball-and-stick models. Students learn how to associate the subscripts in a chemical formula with the number and type of atoms present in a molecule. At the end of the lesson, students compare the positions of the elements in the periodic table with the groups they identified and look for patterns in the molecules formed using elements in the same group. Students also describe how atoms combine with each other in various ways to form substances.
Lesson 6: Pure Substances and Mixtures
Focus Question: How can mixtures be separated?
Students continue to use models to describe the atomic composition of substances. They will also use atomic composition to differentiate between pure substances and mixtures, and they will investigate different methods for separating mixtures into their components. First, students use drawings and computer simulations to model the atomic and molecular composition of a pure substance (distilled water), a conductive solution (salt brine), and a nonconductive solution (sugar water). Next, students observe substances and brainstorm possible methods for separating the mixtures that are among them. Subsequent investigations introduce paper chromatography and distillation. The lesson concludes with a challenge to plan and carry out a procedure for separating a compound (sodium chloride) from a mixture (rock salt).
Lesson 7: Reacting Chemically
Focus Question: How can properties of matter be used to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred?
Students are introduced to chemical reactions. During their investigations, students organize, analyze, and interpret data to determine if a chemical reaction has taken place. First, students use molecular models to show the bonds breaking between atoms in rearranging to form new substances. Next, students use molecular models to predict what may form when water is broken down into its elemental components using electrolysis. Then students pass an electric current through a solution of water containing an electrolyte and evaluate their models against experimental results. Students will also test some of the properties of the electrolysis products and begin to describe chemical reactions as the formation of substances with properties that differ from the original substances. Students also observe the formation of precipitates (solids form from liquid solutions) and plan and carry out investigations involving solubility to gather data to support or refute their claims about chemical reactions occurring. Students will determine the identity of each precipitate and describe the substances they combined to form it. Students will also plan and carry out investigations that use other properties of matter to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred between various combinations of four substances.
Lesson 8: Releasing Energy
Focus Question: What is relationship between changes in substances and changes in thermal energy?
Students study how the temperature of a system is affected by varying the amount of calcium chloride dissolved in water. Students also use calcium chloride and water to design, construct, and test a prototype for delivering heat on demand. Students are introduced to the concept of using chemistry in engineering design, and they read about using criteria and constraints to define a design problem. First, students select a system they believe they can use to design a hot pack (from among several they encountered during the last lesson). Next, students plan and carry out investigations on that system, and then they analyze and interpret their experimental data. Finally, students create multiple models of the system, design a solution that utilizes it, and evaluate how well their solution meets the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Lesson 9: Conservation of Matter
Focus Question: What happens to matter in a chemical reaction?
Students are introduced to the law of conservation of matter. First, students observe a phenomenon to think about how atoms and mass are conserved during physical processes, and then they proceed to consider the same for chemical reactions. Students predict whether or not they believe mass will be conserved in open and closed systems and then plan and carry out an investigation to test their predictions. Next, students develop and use a model to describe a chemical reaction and the relationships between atoms present before and after the reaction. Students use the model they develop to explain phenomena related to changes in mass. During this lesson, students also continue to analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after they interact, and they use the data as evidence to support that a chemical reaction has occurred.
Lesson 10: Compounds from Natural Resources
Focus Question: How are synthetic compounds made and used?
Students investigate and discuss the chemistry, uses, advantages, and disadvantages of synthetic compounds. They discover that many synthetic compounds are designed to mimic the structure and function of naturally occurring substances that may be in short supply, very rare, or very expensive to isolate. Students use sodium alginate and other compounds to determine what combinations produce a synthetic gel, analyze and interpret data to determine if a chemical reaction occurred, and identify patterns and relationships between substances that result in a chemical reaction. Through various readings, students discover the role of natural resources in the production of synthetic organic materials. They also identify and explore the roles of various types of chemists who contribute to the synthesis and application of synthetic materials, for example, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and fuels derived from biomass. Students also have the opportunity to identify a synthetic compound they would like to know more about, research it, and share their findings with the class.
Lesson 11: Assessment
This assessment has two parts: a performance assessment and a written assessment. In the performance assessment, students apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the unit to produce and evaluate a design solution for a chemically activated cold pack. In the written assessment, students respond to multiple-choice and constructed-response items aligned to concepts covered in this unit.


What’s Included:
  • 16 Matter and Its Interactions Student Guide
  • Matter and Its Interactions Teacher’s Edition
  • 1 Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to the Teacher’s Guide and digital student access to the Student Guide)
  • 1 Audible Conductivity Kit
  • 150 Bead, Green Pony, 9 mm
  • 250 Bead, Solar Energy
  • 4 Block Set, Density
  • 8 Bolt, Steel, 1/2 x 3”
  • 9 Bottle, Plastic, 2 oz, with Cap
  • 1 Brush, Bottle
  • 8 Card Set, Calcium
  • 1 Card Set, Element
  • 1 Chromatography Pen Set
  • 10 Container, Plastic, 16 oz
  • 500 Cube, Centimeter
  • 10 Cup Lid, for Styrofoam® 8-oz Cup
  • 25 Cup, Styrofoam®, 8 oz
  • 125 Cup, Graduated, 1-1/4 oz
  • 100 Cup, Plastic, 10 oz
  • 8 Cylinder, Aluminum, 1/2 x 1/2”
  • 1 Density Paradox Set
  • 1 Element Sample Set
  • 1 Food Coloring Set, 4 Assorted Colors
  • 1 Immiscible Liquid Mixture, 2-oz Bottle
  • 32 Jar, 2 oz, with Closure
  • 16 Lens, Hand
  • 8 Marker, Permanent, Fine-Point, Black
  • 1 Pie Tin, Aluminum, 9”
  • 1 Sand, Black, 1 lb
  • 8 Spacer, Nylon
  • 1 Specimen, Granite, #2
  • 1 Specimen, Slate, #10
  • 20 Spoon, Measuring, 1/4 tsp
  • 9 Stand, Electrode
  • 8 Molecular Model Set
  • 2 Tank, Plastic, 1 gal
  • 1 Test Tube Clamp, with Grips
  • 18 Test Tube, 10 x 75 mm
  • 10 Tube, Plastic, Closed End, 1-1/2 x 12”
  • 1 Aluminum Foil, 25-ft Roll
  • 2 Ammonium Chloride, Granular, 500 g
  • 36 Antacid Tablet
  • 1 Baking Powder, Double-Acting, 4 oz
  • 2 Baking Soda, 16-oz Box
  • 1 Borax, 2 oz
  • 2 Calcium Chloride, Pellets, 500 g
  • 2 Candle, Tea
  • 1 Citric Acid Monohydrate, 100 g
  • 250 Coffee Stirrer, Wood
  • 1 Copper (II) Sulfate, 100 g
  • 2 Corn Syrup, Light, 1 pt
  • 1 Cornstarch, 1-lb Box
  • 50 Cup, Cone, Paper, 4 oz
  • 1 Instant Hot Pack
  • 1 Iodine, Tincture, 2%, 1 oz
  • 2 Isopropyl Alcohol, 91%, 16 oz
  • 1 Oil, Vegetable, 32-oz Bottle
  • 25 Paper, Chromatography, 8.9 x 8.9 cm
  • 20 Paper, Construction, Black, 9 x 12”
  • 100 Paper, Filter, Qualitative, 15 cm
  • 1 Peppermint Extract, 4 oz
  • 1 Phenol Red, 500 mL
  • 200 Pipette, Plastic
  • 1 Potassium Chloride, Granular, 500 g
  • 1 Salt, 1-lb Box
  • 1 Salt, Epsom, 2-oz Pack
  • 1 Salt, Kosher, 3-lb Box
  • 1 Salt, Rock, 160 g
  • 1 Shaving Foam, Can
  • 1 Sodium Alginate, 1%, 100 mL
  • 1 Sodium Carbonate, 100 g
  • 1 Sodium Sulfate, 50 g
  • 16 Steel Wool Pad
  • 1 Sugar, Confectioners’, 1 lb
  • 1 Sulfur Powder, 50 g
  • 100 Test Strip, pH
  • 10 Tray, Lab, 20-Section
  • 2 Urea, Crystal, 500 g
  • 1 Vinegar, White, 1 qt
  • 100 Weighing Dish, Aluminum Foil, Disposable, 57 mm
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.