Matter and Heat/ Irreversible Changes

Renee Hoover
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Experiment/Lab 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.



This lab activity explores four materials, crayon, pasta, matches, and lemonade, after they have heat added to them. The students collect and analyze information about whether or not the materials change state and if the change is reversible or irreversible. The lesson materials provide detailed steps and include lab books, or a lab book template, with which to collect data. There are helpful prompts to support discussion. This is the 5th lesson in a series of 11 lessons written about properties of matter. Note: The crayons are referred to in this lesson, but the investigation is done in a previous lesson.

Intended Audience

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-PS1-4 Construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.

Clarification Statement: Examples of reversible changes could include materials such as water and butter at different temperatures. Examples of irreversible changes could include cooking an egg, freezing a plant leaf, and heating paper.

Assessment Boundary: none

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Teachers and students may need additional support to engage in scientific argumentation.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The student could participate in productive discussion about the Core Idea with some support. In this case, the argumentation is set up but teachers and students may need more support than what is provided (i.e., explicit demonstration, fish bowl, language support) with argumentation.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Student may need a variety of different and prolonged experiences before they would be able to have a robust understanding of the Core Idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The Crosscutting Concept is fully addressed. The lesson includes guiding questions for the teacher, yet they are still teacher-directed. Teachers may decide to allow students to come up with ideas about the possible causes for the changes on their own before the teacher provides the information.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The three dimensions of the NGSS are met through the lesson. The lesson is appropriate for second grade. This lesson would form a strong foundation in a unit focused on PS1 and PS2.

  • Instructional Supports: The teacher is given pictures and video of real world lesson segments and suggested templates to use. A comparison chart, provided by the lesson, can be used as an assessment piece.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There are multiple opportunities for formative assessment. A teacher would be able to keep track of student ideas and development of ideas through the lab book as well as student oral responses.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -