Strand IV
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Physical Sciences in Real-World Contexts


Science/Strand IV
Content Standard 1
All students will measure and describe the things around us; explain what the world around us is made of; identify and describe forms of energy; and explain how electricity and magnetism interact with matter (Matter and Energy)


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1/Elementary
Benchmark 1
Classify common objects and substances according to observable attributes/properties.

Benchmark Clarification

Objects can be described by observing their physical properties/ characteristics. Reality is perceived by the five senses. Some of the easiest characteristics to observe are:

  • color
  • size
  • shape
  • texture
  • smell
  • states of matter

Students will:

  • Describe common objects using physical characteristics/observable attributes and appropriate descriptive terms (e.g., rough is texture, rigid is flexibility, oval is shape)
  • Classify/sort common objects using physical characteristics/observable attributes
  • Increase the numbers of identified characteristics at each grade level

See Shadows: objects that let light pass through or objects that block light, (SCI.IV.4.E.4).

See Materials that conduct electricity or objects that do not conduct electricity, (SCI.IV.1.E.2).

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Key Concept

  • rough
  • smooth


  • rigid
  • flexible
  • stiff
  • strong
  • firm


  • pleasant
  • unpleasant

States of matter:

  • solid
  • liquid
  • gas

Magnetic properties:

  • attract
  • repel
  • push
  • pull


  • larger
  • smaller


  • length
  • width
  • height


  • common color words


  • circle
  • square
  • triangle
  • rectangle
  • oval


  • heavy
  • light
  • heavier
  • lighter


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Real World Context
Common objects:

  • desks
  • coins
  • pencils
  • buildings
  • snowflakes

Common substances:

  • solids:
    • copper
    • plastic
    • iron
    • Styrofoam
    • wood
  • liquids:
    • alcohol
    • water
    • milk
    • juice
  • gases:
    • air
    • water vapor
    • helium


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How do we describe the things around us?

Focus Question: How are given objects alike and different?

Students will identify and describe the physical characteristics of an object. Students will brainstorm, record, and report unique physical characteristics of similar objects (e.g., sphere, disc, cylinder). Students will use the description of an object written by someone else to locate and identify the described object. Students will choose a mystery object in the classroom and write a description of it using physical characteristics. Using the mystery object descriptions, students will exchange descriptions and locate the mystery objects or play an “I Spy” game.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.E.1), (SCI.I.1.E.5), (SCI.I.1.E.6).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.E.1).


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1/Elementary/Benchmark 1
Assessment Example

Given a selection of objects, each student will sort the items using the objects’ physical characteristics. After the student has sorted the items, he or she will organize the information by either creating an original graphic organizer or using the table given below:





















The student will choose two objects from the table or graphic organizer and write a summary telling how the two objects are alike and different.

Extension: When appropriate, an oral summary could also be given.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric






Accuracy of identification

Identifies one to two characteristics correctly.

Identifies three characteristics correctly.

Identifies four characteristics correctly.

Identifies five characteristics correctly.

Accuracy of Summary

Compares and contrasts using one to two characteristics.

Compares and contrasts using three characteristics.

Compares and contrasts using four characteristics.

Compares and contrasts using five characteristics.


Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 1/Elementary/Benchmark 1


Hurwitz, Sue. Sight. LIBRARY OF THE FIVE SENSES SERIES. Watts Publishing, 1998 .

Pluckrose, Henry. Shape. MATH COUNTS SERIES. Children’s Press, 1995 .