Beacon Unit Plan Library

Our Picnic, The Study of Matter

Sandi King
Beacon Learning Center (Bay District Schools)


Do first graders understand science concepts? This literature-based unit uses scientific inquiry and strategies of problem-based learning in helping students discover the properties of matter. Through hands-on experiences, students discover how to protect their Popsicles from melting.


What causes ice to melt?
How can I keep ice from melting?


The planned duration of this activity is 10 days.

Associated Files

Unit Plan Overview (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Diagnostic Assessment (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 1 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 2 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 3 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Lesson Plans

What Do We Need for Our Picnic?
This lesson uses literature to stimulate the students' prior knowledge of items that would be taken on a picnic. These items are then grouped according to their physical properties.

A Closer Look
Using literature to stimulate recall, students and Curious George learn that objects are composed of many parts. Students group objects by their physical characteristics and various compositions. Magnifying glasses will be used.

Solid, Liquid, or Gas?
Using literature to introduce the states of matter, students identify physical characteristics and group objects for a picnic using the states of matter for each object.

What State Is It?
After reviewing the states of matter and reading Bartholomew and the Oobleck, students create some oobleck and then use the descriptions of the states of matter to categorize the oobleck.

States of Water
Students identify the various states of water. Hypothesizing and hands-on experimenting on changing the states of water assists students in understanding the properties of water and the role of heating and cooling in the changes of state.

Melt the Ice
As students explore the properties of water, they hypothesize how to cause changes from a solid and gas state to a liquid state. Students use their new science knowledge to have an ice cube melt race.

Freeze Pops
Students experience problem-based learning as they use prior knowledge of the states of matter to keep a frozen juice bar from melting. This science lesson is literature based.

Web Links

Students group various objects using their physical characteristics.
Packing for the Park
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