Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024


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Physical Science

Lesson Plan: Applying Heat to States of Matter

Author Post
Chelsea Sanchez Chelsea Sanchez 270 Points

I am creating a lesson plan where my students are melting crayons on to see how a solid can turn into a liquid when heat is aplied and how the crayon can turn back into a solid when heat is taken away. During this activity, students will be working in groups. However, should I have students share a recording sheet or should each student be documenting what is happening in the classroom. Additionally, what would be a good activity for my students to complete independently while I am working with individual groups to melt their crayons? 

Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5755 Points

What is the age group? With older students, I typically have them work in groups of 2 for hands-on experiments. I have one in charge of recording data and another in charge of making the observations. How many are in the group? 

Is there a reason why they are not all melting crayons at the same time? They could be working on drafting a hypothesis or drawing microscale and macroscale representations of what they predict will happen to the crayon when heated and cooled. Depending upon age level, you could also have them draw heating curves and explain why temperature remains consistent during melting. 

Brian Josephsen Brian Josephsen 1603 Points

Hi Chelsea,

Your lesson sounds like it could be fun. I have melted crayons in an art class but not in science. Perhaps there is a way to integrate the two together by mixing the melted crayons together to create new colors. Or you could melt them over something so that as it drips it looks like candle wax when it hardens. You could also take the opportunity to show the students how casting works and learn about blacksmithing. Depending on the age and maturity of the students there are many things the students could be working on while waiting. They could come up with a list of materials they know melt and harden under the right circumstances (water, glass, lava, metals, wax, etc.). If you have the students going from station to station, and have the resources available, they could research the melting/hardening temperatures of those materials online. You could ask students to predict if melting and re-hardening the crayons will make them softer or more brittle or have no effect on their consistency. Then, have them write why they made those predictions. Much depends on the level of the students and your desired learning outcome.

Hope that helps!

-Brian Josephsen

Kristen Harold Kristen Harold 1720 Points


I am a preservice teacher and have had a lot of experience teaching science to elementary school students.  Depending on the age would help me determine if I have my students work in small groups or individually. The only thing with having them work in a group is I would make sure they are all contributing. I think while conducting the crayon activity you could have your other students independently work on a P-O-E, also known as Predict, Observe, Explain or C-E-R, also known as, Claim, Evidence, Reasoning.  They can collaborate as a group but should have their on POE or CER to turn in.  Although your first group may not be able to work on their prediction or claim being that they are going to be first to do the activity; you could have them come up with their prediction or claim before you start the activity with them.  You could have the other students who have not yet done the activity sit at their seats and work on their predictions or claims.  As each group goes they can work on their observations or evidence and then eventaully their explanation or reasoning.  I think you could also have other activities that have to do with applying heat to states of matter once they are done with their POEs or CERs.  This could be something along the lines of giving them papers and they have to match what object would be effected by heat or you could somehow integrate ELA to have students write about what they already know about matter as a general topic.  I find it easy to partner ELA with science because it allows students to write about what they've learned or what they're learning.  I've had students write letters, make brochures, etc.  I think if you give them something to do related to science it can keep them engaged and on task. 

I hope this helps!


Lizzet Alvarez Lizzet Alvarez 185 Points

That is a great lesson to help students understand how a solid can turn into a liquid. A way you can have students work individually is by having each student come up with a prediction of what will occur before they have the opportunity to conduct the experiment. After the group has had the opportunity to melt the crayon they can go back to work indepently by comparing if their predictions were seen through their experiment. If not, explain what was different or even write down a different method that might also melt a crayon. 

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