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Elementary Physics Lesson Plan: Performing an Experiment in Matter and Energy

written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Beth Taylor•updated: 2/6/2013

Use this lesson plan to help your students create an experiment in matter and energy. Students will enjoy this as they use their own creativity and ineterests to create a fun and interesting science experiment.

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    What is Physics?

    When students hear the word "physics", they may be a bit intimidated until you explain that physics is simply the science of matter, energy, and the interactions between the two. Gravity, for instance, is a concept of physics. Review some of the different basic types of energy with your students as listed below.

    • Electrical, such as the electricity that powers the lights in the classroom.
    • Light, such as solar power.
    • Magnetic, such as the energy used to create a compass.

    Ask students if they can think of other forms of energy. Review some of these forms with the students. When the students seem to have a basic concept of some of the simpler forms of energy, move on to the next section of this physics lesson plan.

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    Energy and Matter

    Before the students create their own physics experiment, they need to understand that matter and energy work together. Discuss the following scenarios with students to explain how the two work together.

    Energy is used to perform work. Discuss what work is performed in the scenarios below.

    • A ball is dropped and hits the ground. Explain how gravity is the energy that affected the matter of the ball.
    • Magnets are used to pick up stick pins. Explain that the energy is magnetic and affected the matter of the stick pins by doing the work of picking them up.

    Students should have a science journal to record their experiments and results in. Ask students to create a physics experiment that uses light, magnetic or gravitational energy to affect matter. Students should follow the scientific method to create their experiment and record their results. The steps are listed below for your convenience.

    1. Observe an activity.
    2. Create a hypothesis or explanation for what you see.
    3. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
    4. Test the prediction.
    5. Reach a conclusion based on the test.

    The experiment that they write in their journals should include the following information.

    1. What was the observation?
    2. What is the explanation for the observation?
    3. What is the prediction?
    4. Test the prediction. This test should be described in detail.
    5. Provide a conclusion based on the results of the test.

Making a Science Experiment

Students who get involved in science via hands on methods not only develop more interest in science, but also have a better understanding of it. This series provides a variety of formats to guide students in developing that interest.
  1. Creating Science Journals in the Classroom: Observe and Record
  2. Student Expectations and Science
  3. Introduction to Biology Lesson
  4. Elementary Physics Lesson Plan: Performing an Experiment in Matter and Energy