Getting Started with Science Stations with Properties of Matter

Be sure to stop by and see my Week 4 Plans.

simple poster with stations listed and group letters on post-its to switch easily
It’s time to start science stations.  This post is about how I put together stations for Properties of Matter.  At this point, we’ve done some whole group labs and experiments, worked on notebooking and output ideas, and did an overview of the properties of matter.  For three days next week, we will be doing science stations for one hour each day.  It’s our first attempt and I’m hoping it goes well.
First of all, we consider the standards and what student need to know.  Magnetism, solubility, and insulators and conductors of electricity stand out as standards that need to be taught that we didn’t go in depth on in whole group activities.  I feel those are a bit easier for students to understand and they have some background knowledge of, so they are ideal mini-labs for stations.  Also, stations are a great time to review vocabulary, do some content reading, and work on the computer.  This is the ideal time for DIFFERENTIATION!
Student Grouping
 I looked at scores on the first 2 quizzes and classroom performance to determine who is in need of more teacher instruction and who is ready to work in small groups of 2-3 students.  This time, I have 8 students from each class in my “teacher group”.
After determining who would be in my “teacher group”, I grouped the remaining students based mainly on behaviors (let’s be honest!).  My group is Group F.  Ignore the stations listed below Group F.  This group will meet with me every day for the whole time.  I may give them a task and walk away to check on the other independent groups, but they are still my main group.
The Stations 
Many of the station activities I’m using come from STEMScopes, an online resource for subscribing districts in Texas.  I retyped them so they will work for my kids and have specific directions.
Magnetism: Students predict which materials are magnetic, test them, and record their data.  They answer questions about the data and draw a labeled diagram of their observations.
Solubility: Students test substances to determine whether or not they are soluble in water.  They record data and answer questions.  They draw a labeled diagram of their observations.
Reading: Students read 10 pages from National Geographic books about matter.  Our campus has 6 copies of the book, so this is an ideal station activity.  Students reflect on their reading when it complete.
Electricity: Students are testing a variety of materials to determine if they are insulators or conductors of electricity.  They predict, test, then record data and answer questions.  They draw a labeled diagram of their observations.
Vocabulary: Students have 2 activities to work on with a crossword and fill in the blank.  Then, they can work on their vocabulary folders.
Computer:  Students do play, read, and quiz for the following activities.  They will likely not get through all of them in 30 minutes, but they can work on as many as they can and record their quiz scores.
**If for some reason students complete their station and it’s the best quality work that could ever exist, and there’s still 10 minutes, they can work on their vocabulary folder.
Teacher Group
In my Teacher Group, I have 8 students who have showed me they need a more scaffolded approach for properties of matter.  This is not necessarily the same group of students each time.  It will depend on classroom performance and data by the next time we do stations.  This group will meet on our large carpet with me.
My group will also complete the magnetism, solubility, and electricity stations in 2 different groups while I observe and question.  For reading, we will use CLOZE activities.  We will focus on our vocabulary folders as our vocabulary study and do some matching activities as well.  I’m also thinking of using some photos of different materials and talk about the physical properties of those materials.  We also need to work on answering multiple choice questions about matter.
This is the plan…but I’ve been known to deviate from the plan.  Have a great week!  :)



  1. Ari,

    Thank you so much for always sharing your great ideas! We just got STEMScopes in our district, and I was wondering which parts you were using for stations? The intervention? Engage? Next step inquiry?

  2. Hey Caitlyn. It’s in the 5th Grade ReTEKS sections, not the regular 5th grade Scopes…I’m not sure what the difference is.

  3. I just found your blog after a friend sent a link to your TpT my way. I know that I will be purchasing a lot of your resources to use with my fifth graders this year. So glad to have found your blog. You have tons of fantastic ideas!

    Mrs. O
    Mrs O Knows

  4. Ari, thank you so much for posting this. I struggle with groups with a few of my classes. They start off strong, but then by the end of class, they tend to lose interest in what they’re doing and forget the point of the stations. I’m constantly working on improving my stations so that each one is equally interesting, but it’s really hard! I love your grouping strategy. Maybe my problem is the groups that the students are in. Always a work in progress!!

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