teaching resource

Is It a Conductor or an Insulator? - Worksheet

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 1 page | Grades: 4 - 5

With this hands-on worksheet, students will cut and sort conductors and insulators based on their ability to transfer heat energy.

If you say the word “conductor” in your classroom, your students might first think you’re about to dive into a lesson about trains.

But as fun as it is to say “ALL ABOOOOARD!!”…

…in this science activity, your students will be attempting to predict the energy transferring abilities of common materials.

Is It a Conductor or an Insulator?

Materials that let electrons move freely, allowing the transfer of heat energy is called conductors. Materials that impede the movement of electrons, therefore blocking the transfer of energy are called insulators.

In this activity, students will cut out the objects on the bottom of the page and sort them into conductors and insulators:

  • Silver
  • Glass
  • Oil
  • Plastic
  • Copper
  • Rubber
  • Sea Water
  • Gold
  • Wood
  • Steel

This resource can also be used as an interactive notebook activity.

Materials needed:

  • Worksheets for each student
  • Scissors
  • Glue

This download also includes an answer key for quick grading.

Additional Activities to “Conduct” With Your Students

Don’t stop there! We’ve got a few other ideas for how to turn this exercise into more opportunities for independent practice and group learning:

Class Assessment 

Curious to see what your students already know about conductors and insulators? Before teaching about the concept, have your students work on their science investigation and reasoning skills to determine whether previous experience with these materials can tell them how well the materials conduct or insulate heat. What do they know about different metals, wood, glass, and the others? Once you’ve completed the lesson test what they learned from by asking students to do it again as an exit ticket.

Group Lesson 

Using your smartboard or another projection device, present the entire sheet so that your students can see both columns and the materials at the bottom of the page. Work through the material options together as a whole class, discussing the properties of the materials and writing your answers in the columns.

Science Center Activity

No scissors, no glue, no problem! Create a reusable conductors and insulators activity by printing this resource on a single sheet of heavy cardstock to make it extra durable. Then, cut out the material cards to make them reusable game pieces. Put it all in a folder to keep the board and pieces together. You’ve just created a sustainable classroom activity that can be played again and again!

How to Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Because this download includes the answer sheet, we recommend first printing one copy of the entire file. Then, make photocopies of the blank worksheets for students to fill out on their own.

Students will also need glue and scissors to complete this worksheet. But they can also write the name of the material in the column instead.

If you plan to use this resource as a science center activity, we suggest printing on heavy cardstock for durability.

Before You Download

Use the drop-down menu to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version. An answer key is included in the download.

This resource was created by Gaby Perez, a teacher in Texas and a Teach Starter Collaborator.


Wait! Don’t go anywhere until you browse additional activities and resources for teaching and discussing heat and energy:

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