Materials and Their Properties, lessons Comparing the Properties of Different Materials (pp. 22); and Exploring Thermal Insulators and Conductors (pp. 23)

Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Curriculum , Experiment/Lab Activity , Activity
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



Students participate in an open-ended sort using various materials. Based on their self-selected categories, student explain their reasoning. Next, through a fair test trial, students use new information to decide, using evidence, which material is best suited for maintaining cold the longest.

Intended Audience

- none -
Educational Level
  • Elementary School
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

2-PS1-2 Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.

Clarification Statement: Examples of properties could include, strength, flexibility, hardness, texture, and absorbency.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of quantitative measurements is limited to length.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The lesson as written is very teacher directed. To align with the Performance Expectation, the teacher should use a guided discovery approach that begins with a question and allows the students to generate data.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Supporting students in the Practice will enhance this lesson. Teachers may need to scaffold for students supports as they begin analyzing data from tests.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
As stated above, the emphasis of the lesson is exploring only one property - heat conduction. The lesson could have greater alignment if it a) explored more properties for the materials, or b) expanded the lesson to address more uses for materials with the given properties.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Questions of cause and effect are only implied in the lesson and could be expanded.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: In order for the lessons to have strong alignment to the NGSS, they would need to be more explicit in the engagement of the Crosscutting Concept and the Practice of analyzing data; yet there is potential for a teacher to use the resource and adapt the lesson to be more aligned.

  • Instructional Supports: The lessons could support instruction as part of a larger series of lessons that work together the engage students in three-dimensional learning.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lessons may be used to engage students in summative assessment to evaluate the students' use of all three dimensions of the Performance Expectation.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The lesson does not have a technology component.