Unit 3: Understanding Matter and Energy - Properties of and Changes in Matter

In earlier grades, students learned how the properties of various materials, such as strength, flexibility, and buoyancy, determine what the materials are used for. In Grade 5, students will continue those studies and also examine the environmental impact associated with the production, use, and disposal of such materials. In addition, students will explore the concept of matter. They will learn about commonly found states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases) and the characteristics of each. They will also explore changes of state and investigate the difference between physical changes (which are reversible) and chemical changes (which are not reversible). Concepts learned in this strand about the use of heat to effect changes in matter will be relevant to the study of energy conservation in the next strand. It is necessary to provide opportunities for all students, including students with special education needs, to participate in these or comparable activities.

As governments deal with ongoing concerns about growing landfill sites, problems with waste disposal, and the potential of recycling processes, it is often our students who are our best environmental stewards. The habits of mind, attitudes, and values they form now will remain with them throughout their adult lives. Therefore, we need to ensure that they learn to form their own opinions after they have fully explored the issues. This means looking at issues such as recycling not only from the perspective of recycling plant operators but also from that of providers of raw materials, manufacturers, people concerned about the environment, and consumers. By helping students get a balanced view of the issues, we help them to consider the values and perspectives of others. When exploring changes of state, it is important that students be able to identify and demonstrate an understanding of practices that ensure their personal safety and the safety of others. This includes knowing how to heat samples safely, and why any flaws in glassware should be reported to the teacher.

Online Unit: Properties of and Changes in Matter