Identifying Matter by Sound and Feel

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Science, Life Science, Physical Science

Grade 1- 3


Students will investigate the physical properties of sound that matter can make.


Send home the parent letter and a film canister for each student a few days in advance of when you conduct the activities.
Put a number on each container, both on the lid and on the canister as they are returned. Record each student's name and container number on the Sound and Feel Containers List.
Select 10 canisters to use and save the rest for later. Make a random list of their contents as an answer sheet.
Students will then match the characteristics they sense when shaking the containers and copy the name of the item from the answer list beside the container's number.

  1. Divide the students into small groups and then distribute a copy of the What's Inside the Container? Data Sheet to each group. Divide the containers into sets for each group and distribute them on a tray.
  2. Have the students carefully shake the containers to see if they can guess the contents. The members of the group should come to agreement and then record their guess.
  3. Rotate the containers on the trays to another group until all containers have been tested by each group. It is important to allow enough time for each group to discuss the possibilities before recording their guess.
  4. Monitor the students to be sure the lids are not removed. Be certain that each member of the group is contributing to the test and discussion.
Have each group tell what they thought was in each container. Record their guesses on the Sound and Feel Guess List transparency.
Show the containers transparency (page 10) of the list of items in the containers along with the items themselves.
Have the students check to see how many they could guess correctly just by hearing the sound and feeling the contents move.
Discuss what helped them guess these items correctly.


  • opaque, empty film canister for each student, available free at most places where film is developed
  • trays (one per group)
  • parent letter (page 9)
  • Sound and Feel Containers List (page 10)
  • What's Inside the Container? Data Sheet (page 11)
  • transparency of the Sound and Feel Containers List (page 10) and Sound and Feel Anwsers
  • (page 12)

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