Properties of Materials Unit Plan

Teach Starter Publishing
6 x lessons | Suitable for grades: 1

This Matter and Energy unit investigates the observable properties of materials. Descriptive vocabulary is explored as well as the suitability of materials for different purposes.

It consists of six lessons that are each approximately 60-minutes in length.

The sequence of lessons and suggested time frames should be regarded as a guide only; teachers should pace lessons in accordance with the individual learning needs of their class.

For some of the lessons in this unit, students explore materials at various stations. Additional adult supervision at some of these stations would be beneficial.

An assessment task for monitoring student understanding of the unit objectives is included and will require an additional lesson.

Teachers are encouraged to collect samples of students’ work throughout the unit to add to a learning portfolio. These can also be used to assess students’ understanding of the unit objectives.


  • To explore the properties of materials and develop vocabulary to describe them.
  • To identify the material objects are made of and to sort them in various ways.
  • To develop an understanding of the suitability of certain materials for different purposes.
  • To understand that some materials provide better shade than others.
  • To understand that some materials are more water resistant than others.
  • An assessment task in which students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the observable properties of materials.

Preparing for Learning

This Science unit provides excellent opportunities for cross-curricular integration. Look for ways to meaningfully integrate the content of the unit with other learning areas such as Reading and The Arts.
Prior to starting the unit, develop a classroom display that focuses on the properties of materials. Display word wall vocabulary and learning goals that the students will engage with throughout the unit to stimulate their learning. For examples of additional teaching resources to display in your classroom, browse the Material World  collection on the Teach Starter website.

Many of the resources that accompany this unit plan will need to be prepared prior to teaching. For this reason, it is advised that teachers browse through all lessons before starting the unit.

It is suggested that several weeks prior to starting this unit, a note is sent home to parents asking students to bring in recycled materials to be used throughout the unit. A large variety (and quantity) of resources will be needed for exploration and construction. This will take some time to collect and arrange, however, some of the resources can be re-used several times throughout the unit.



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