Students are given a variety of materials and asked to identify if each material as a solid, liquid or gas. They use their five senses — sight, sound, smell, texture and taste — to identify the other characteristics of each item.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standard Network (ASN), a project of JES & Co. (www.jesandco.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Click on the standard groupings to explore this hierarchy as it applies to this document.
- Colorado: Math
- Measure and estimate lengths in standard units. (Grade 2)  ...show
- Colorado: Science
- c. Identify the state of any sample of matter (Grade 3)  ...show
- Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Math
- 4. Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters. (Grade 3)  ...show
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties. (Grade 5)  ...show
- Explain that there are different types of materials suited for different purposes and that engineers must decide which material is best suited for a specific task.
- Describe how our five senses help us learn about different materials.
- Wooden blocks
- Peanut butter
- Pipe cleaners
- Elmer's glue
- Bubble gum
- Scotch Tape®
- LEGO® blocks
- Eggs: hard boiled or raw
- Saran Wrap®
- Bouncy ball
- Dog toy that squeaks
- Silly putty
- Sticky tack
- Sunflower seeds
- 1 12"-in. ruler
- 1 beaker or empty water bottle (optional)
- Food coloring (optional)
- Two copies of the You Name It! Worksheet
|A set of characteristics that describe an item.|
|Methods of perception; five senses are sight, smell, touch, sound and taste.|
Before the Activity
- Make copies of the You Name It! Worksheet for each student.
- Gather all necessary materials.
With the Students
- Conduct the Introduction/Motivation section with the students.
- Split the class into groups of two students each.
- Give students clear directions on which items they may and may not taste. Be especially aware of any allergy issues.
- Let each group choose one material to observe and identify the different properties.
- When a group is done, have them switch materials with another group. Note: if it is a food item, give subsequent groups new food to taste.
- Give the students time to fill out the You Name It! Worksheet for six different materials. Encourage students to perform other tests on their materials: does it bounce? Does it pour? Can it stand by itself?
- Once students have filled in their You Name It! Worksheet, have them choose their favorite material and present their findings about it to the class.
- Review with the students how our five senses help us learn about different materials. Also review how engineers need to know about materials so that they can choose the right material for a specific task or invention.
Activity Embedded Assessment
Katherine Beggs, Denali Lander, Abigail Watrous, Janet Yowell
© 2006 by Regents of the University of Colorado.
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
Last modified: December 1, 2015