1. Investigating Materials

Student with cubes

The objects in our world are made of many different materials, each having different properties. By exploring the similarities and differences between materials, students begin to see why some materials are better suited for some objects than others. They begin to distinguish objects by their properties with particular attention to weight and material. They come to understand that the tiniest pieces of a material have weight and are made of the same material as the object from which it comes, and that objects may be made of multiple materials.


  1. What are things in my world made of?
  2. What kind of material makes an object work well?
  3. How are the materials the same and different?
  4. How can we sort cubes that are all the same size?
  5. How do materials help us in our classroom?

The Child and the Scientist

Concept Cartoon

Darwin from the Concept Cartoons

The Materials Concept Cartoon is typically used as a formative assessment after Investigating Materials 4

Letters from the Engineer

While students use science practices to deepen their understanding of scientific ideas throughout this curriculum, some of their investigations bridge to the engineering world. To highlight some of the instances where students engage in an engineering practice or gain insight into the engineer’s world, the curriculum includes Letters from the Engineer. Look for these letters (in the special boxes) and read them to the class.