Lesson 3: Properties of Matter I

Wrapping Up


In this lesson, you have been introduced to different traits associated with matter. You have learned about malleability and ductility, two properties that influence ways that matter can be shaped. You have been introduced to conductivity, a property related to the ability of matter to conduct heat, and also to luster, a property that deals with appearances. As you ponder what you have learned, keep these traits in mind. For your final project, you will be asked to build something and pick what materials you will use based on traits covered in this lesson. Also keep in mind the key concepts of structure and function as we continue to progress through the unit.

Questions to Discuss

  • Which of the traits do you think are important regarding the structure and function of types of matter? (Malleability and ductility: the shapes of matter influence its functions. For example, since wire is used to conduct electricity and aluminum is used to wrap up objects such as food, it is important that both can be easily shaped. Conductivity: matter can be used to conduct heat or electricity. Since many household appliances and industries utilize energy in the form of heat or electricity, conductivity is an important characteristic.)
  • Which of the traits do you think are not important regarding the structure and function of types of matter? (Luster is not as important. It deals primarily with how things look and has limited benefit with regards to important functions.)
  • Challenging Question: Why do you think play dough is less malleable, less ductile, and less conductive than copper and aluminum? (The properties of matter are influenced by atomic structure and atomic bonds. Aluminum and copper are made up of only one type of atom — copper or aluminum — so the types of bonds among atoms of these elements are different than the types of bonds among the types of atoms that make up play dough.)

Things to Review

  • Matter has distinct properties that determine its function.
  • Some properties are associated with how easily matter is shaped (malleability, ductility); others deal with specific functions (conductivity) or with appearance (luster).
  • The properties of matter are influenced by the structure of matter at its most fundamental level, the atom.