Law of Conservation of Matter Lesson Plan

Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Learning all of the laws in chemistry can seem overwhelming and abstract to students, but this lesson plan allows students to explore the Law of Conservation through a lab activity, which will strengthen their understanding.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Make predictions about the starting mass of the reactants vs. the ending mass of the products in a chemical reaction based on the Law of Conservation.
  • Explain how Lavoisier came to discover the Law of Conservation.
  • Describe implications of the Law of Conservation.


  • 80 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).



  • Pose the following question to the class:
    • If I were to build a campfire, and I weighed everything before (the logs) and weighed everything after (the burned logs, the air that was produced, the ash, etc.), would the starting mass be greater, less, or equal to the ending mass?
  • Have students vote and write the consensus on the board.
  • Explain to students the expectations of their one-pager note sheet:
    • Notes should be taken when the video is paused
    • Drawings should be placed where appropriate
    • The lab (later) will be placed on the one-pager as well
  • Begin the video, Law of Conservation of Matter: Definition & Matter, pausing at various points to jot down notes on their one-pager sheet:
    • 0:30, 0:32, 0:39
    • 1:31 (to revisit the original question posed at the start of class) and have students draw an image to depict the Law.
    • 2:08, notes on Lavoisier
    • 3:15: notes and drawing on the implications of the law
    • Pause the video


  • Tell students they are going to perform a chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. They should jot down the chemical reaction that is going to take place.
  • Have the groups make predictions about the starting and ending mass of the products and reactants based on what has been learned thus far. They should write their predictions on their one-pagers.
  • Each group needs to perform the following tasks (and write data on their one-pagers).

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