Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Physical Science: Session 3

Children's Ideas About Conservation of Matter

Below are common ideas children in grades K-6 have about this topic, compiled from research on children's ideas about science. Consider what evidence might refute this idea, and why a child would be likely to believe this? Once you've entered all your answers you can click "printable page" at the bottom of this form to print your answers. You can also click "see possible response" for any question to see one possible response from the series content advisors.

1. When matter changes state, there is a change in weight.

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Children don’t often have the empirical evidence for conservation of matter through changes of state. In a closed system, there is no loss of mass when, for example, water changes to ice or steam. Hide Response

2. In a mixture like sand and water, a new substance has been formed.

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Children don’t often have a grasp of the particle model and may not have experienced the separation of mixtures that is possible through filtration and evaporation. Hide Response

prev: evaporation vs. boiling