Dr. Kamen

Lesson Plan #1/ Analysis


Brad Callahan

March 1, 1999

Description: The main focus of this lesson is on the differences in two states of matter, solids and liquids. The goal of this lesson is to have the children figure out through hands-on experimentation the properties of ooblek and what states of matter these properties fall under. This type of lesson, as stated before, is a hands-on lesson involving the students interacting with a substance and then classifying it based on the properties they identify.

Grade Level: 2nd Grade

Background Information: The concepts that the teacher must understand before teaching this lesson include the definition of matter, the three different states of matter, and the different properties that describe these three states of matter. Matter is a substance that has mass and takes up space. The three different states of matter are solids, liquids, and gases. Properties for solids include specific weight/mass, and carrying a certain shape or form. For liquids, the properties are a specific volume, and the ability to change shape based on the container it resides in. Gases are defined by being able to be invisible, sometimes classified by their odor, and all gases contain molecules which are very spread apart in their own self space.

Concepts covered: The main concepts covered in this lesson are that matter exists in nature and that matter can take form in three different ways: solids, liquids, or gases. It is also important that the students learn that each of these states of matter possess different properties which help to define that particular state. The students will experiment with a substance, which contains both properties of a solid and a liquid. At the end, the students should be able to conclude that ooblek is both a solid and a liquid based on the properties they write down to describe the substance.

Materials: Students will need I container of ooblek (per 4 students0, piece of paper, a pencil, liquid soap (per 4 students), paper towels and at least two sheets of newspaper per group.


  1. Introduce the lesson by telling asking the students if they can define matter, solids, liquids, and gases. Write these responses on the board.
  2. Make a literary connection to the concept. For example, read to the children the book, Bartholomew and the Ooblek. This will certainly get their attention and it is a great way to introduce the lesson.
  3. Write down some things to describe ooblek based on the story that was just read to the children.
  4. Discuss with the children the three different states of matter, and ask the students to give examples to describe these different states. Write these up on the board.
  5. Go over the rules about experimenting with ooblek- no eating putting in eyes, throwing, and using ooblek in way that is not scientific. Explain to the students that they are all scientists and must act responsible scientists in order for the experiment to work.
  6. Divide the children up into groups and explain to them that they are going to first play with the ooblek, and then figure out as a team the properties of ooblek and write these down on paper.
  7. Explain to the students that they will bring their information back to the class to summarize what they have discovered.
  8. Allow students to break off into assigned groups of about 3 or 4, and tell them to begin to experiment with the ooblek.
  9. After 20-30 minutes, bring the students back to colloquium to discuss the findings of their experiment.
  10. Discuss with the group the reason behind this experiment, allowing each group to present their information found. Record this information on a dry erase board so that all of the groups" findings are visible and together.
  11. Allow the students to return to their seats and assess them by letting them write down and answer the following questions on a piece of paper:

1. What are the main properties of ooblek?

    1. How would you classify ooblek, as a solid, liquid, or both?
    2. Name one thing that ooblek could be used for?
    3. Draw a picture of ooblek to show your friends.

Process Skills: The children think critically in this lesson to define an unknown substance as a solid or liquid in state of matter. The students are also using classifying skills to determine what characteristics make up ooblek and why.

Resources: For more information, see the book guide on ooblek, located in the AU bookstore.


In summarizing the results of this lesson, I would have to say that overall, it went well, however, I think that there were many areas for improvement. For example, the class response was very responsive to this lesson, but I think that once the students were broken up into groups, I lost control of the situation. I should have made the directions more clear in what the students were suppose to be doing so that the chaos that occurred could have been held to a minimum. The major problem I had with this lesson overall how to organize it in a more timely fashion. I think that one of my weaknesses as a pre-service teacher is definitely time management skills. This is a skill that can be improved with more experience, but, I still think that the productivity of this lesson would have increased if I had better planned the time sequence of each step in the procedure of the lesson. There are different ways I could have done this. First of all, I could have worked with my teacher to better coordinate time involved in teaching this lesson. I could have also discussed the behavioral problems of certain students in the class before teaching the lesson. Both of these steps would have greatly increased the learning time and effectiveness of the ooblek lesson.

As far as my objectives go, I feel that this lesson can be used with 2nd through 6th graders to teach the science concepts of matter, and the properties that the 3 different states of matter possess. I think that overall, my class understood and comprehended why we were doing this lesson. It was evident in the way the discussion went in colloquium that the students mastered the objectives set forth at the beginning of the lesson. Some things I could improve on would be to make a chart of what the students find out about the ooblek so that it can be better illustrated. I think also that to save time in colloquium, I would pass around a science stick which would give the person holding the stick the right to speak. It would also let everyone else know who has the floor and would help incorporate good listening skills into the closing of the lesson.