Matter Matters

I just wanted to say thanks, my kiddo came home talking about matter.
— Andrea Lalen-Kasten

Nevada and California programs brought to you in partnership with:

Throughout this unit students will work collaboratively to explore properties of solid matter and apply their understanding to try and change matter to make it stronger. Students will also discover the relationship between the properties of matter and its various uses. Students will participate in three in-class lessons integrating second grade standards for Structure, Properties of Matter and Engineering Design. Students will demonstrate their understanding by working in teams to design and construct a bridge that can support greater amounts of mass. 

This unit is backwards designed from Common Core and Next Generation Science State Standards for second grade and includes pre- and post-assessments for students. To supplement the lessons taught by Sierra Nevada Journeys, the teacher will also have access to our extension curriculum. The extensions include a pre-unit lesson, extension activities for the in-school and field based lessons, and a post-unit lesson to wrap up the program. 

Lessons Overview

LESSON 1: What's the matter? 

During this 75-minute lesson students will practice making observations and classifying materials based on their observable characteristics. Students will focus on physical properties including color, texture, hardness, and flexibility. Students will then apply their understanding of physical properties to conduct an investigation about how to select the best materials to build a roller coaster.


LESSON 2: Manipulating Matter 

During this 75-minute lesson students will investigate how certain properties of solid matter are more or less desirable when choosing what materials to use to perform certain functions. Students will explore how changing matter can also change an object’s physical properties, and will apply their understanding by working in small groups to build a model bridge. 

LESSON 3: The Discovery Museum* or world of wonders science museum**

During this field trip students will travel to the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum or the World of Wonder Science Museum in Lodi, CA. Students will work in teams during a museum lab to build a skyscraper, and journey on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum looking for properties of matter.

*Only for schools in Nevada
**Only for schools in California

LESSON 4: Building Bridges 

During this 75-minute lesson students will work collaboratively in groups to design paper bridges using their understanding of the physical properties of matter. Students will engage in the engineering and design process to plan, build, test, re-design, then re-test to see which bridges can hold the most mass. 


We offer Matter Matters to Northern Nevada and Sacramento region 2nd grade classes throughout the school year.

To book Matter Matters, please click on the state where your school resides. When prompted to choose grade/program, please select 2nd - Matter Matters.


Common core

ELA: SL.2.1, W.2.7, W.2.8 

next generation science standards

2-PS1-1: DCI PS1.A, SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, CC: Patterns; K-2-ETS1-3: DCI ETS1.C, SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, CC: Structure and Function