What's the Matter?

My second graders have come into the library this week to the question "What's the Matter?" posted on the board. Answers have ranged from "It's cold outside" to "We aren't choosing the right books for us." After I give them a chance to respond, my statement is "I'm the matter."

I love the puzzled looks when I say that. We then visited and read a digital book in our PebbleGo database on "What is Matter?" I poured liquids. We smelled liquids. We talked about gas. We watched ice melt (like real ice not a video).

S: "Mrs. Ramsey, this isn't Science class!"
Me: "Did we read a book? Did we learn something? Looks like the library to me!"

Of course, no discussion of solids, liquids, and gasses with a second grade class can be complete without someone bringing up , "Is a fart gas?"  While the student fully expected a chastisement for the question, I was prepared. I pulled out a map of the digestive system~ talked about swallowing air- and asking how it got out.....and voila! Disaster diverted- authentic learning saved the day. We even went one step further and talked about the property of visibility: that it's not. And then- back to a book: that graphic novels use green clouds for gas to let us know it's there!

By the end of class, the question "What's the Matter?" had different answers. The new answers:
"Something that takes up space." "Solids, liquids or gasses." "Matter can change from solid to liquid to gas."

And then I thought to myself with a smile: I am the matter. What I do matters.


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