Lesson plan

Liquid Detectives

This hands-on lesson will get your students to investigate some mystery liquids, and they will have to use their observational skills to figure out what they are.
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What kind of liquid is this? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Examine and investigate all of its different properties: colour, smell, feel, and more! First graders and second graders become liquid detectives as they use their observational skills to talk about physical science in the real world. In this hands-on science activity, they will investigate, describe, and record information about a mystery liquid. Finally, everyone can share what they have recorded and discovered with the rest of the class.

Students will be able to investigate, describe, and record information about solids.

(10 minutes)
Liquid Detectives - Observation
  • Explain to the students that they will learn about liquids today.
  • Tell the students that there are three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases and their focus today will be on solids.
  • Show Matter ChatterTo the students.
  • While the song is playing, write the world “liquid” on chart paper to make a word web.
  • After the song, ask students to give examples and characteristics of liquids.
  • Write down the words and phrases the students say on the word web.
(10 minutes)
  • Bring the students together, and tell them that you will show them how to investigate a liquid.
  • On chart paper, copy the table from the Liquid Detectives - Observation worksheet to demonstrate how to record information.
  • Tell the students that the liquids are a mystery, and that they will be doing test to try to figure out what each liquid is.
  • Choose a mystery liquid, then record the colour, smell (by wafting it), transparency, and feel (by dipping a finger in it and then rubbing two fingers together).
  • Explain to the students that all the liquids are safe to touch and smell, but tell them they are not to taste them.
  • Demonstrate how to stir the liquid to see how thick or thin it is, then record your observations.
(10 minutes)
  • Show the students another mystery liquid in another cup.
  • Ask students to come up and observe the liquid as you just showed them, then have them tell you what to record on the chart paper.
  • Explain to the students that they will now be able to investigate liquids in small groups.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students to get into their small groups.
  • Hand out the Liquid Detectives - Observation worksheet to the students.
  • Remind the students to work together on their observations, and to discuss their findings.
  • Hand out the liquids and stir sticks to each group.
  • Tell the students to begin their investigation.
  • Walk around, listen to the students conversation, and ask students questions about their discoveries.
  • When finished, ask the students to clean up.
  • Enrichment:To challenge students, you can have students write a paragraph about a liquid. They will create a description without saying what the liquid is, and other students have to guess what it is.
  • Support:If students have difficulty writing, you can have them orally communicate their discoveries about the liquids.
(10 minutes)
  • During the investigation, walk around and listen to student conversations and ask them about their discoveries.
  • Look over student worksheets to check understanding.
(10 minutes)
  • Bring the students together with their worksheets.
  • Ask the students to share with the class their discoveries about the liquids they investigated.

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