“What types of matter are there?” is a question of classification. Classification is a very important tool for predicting and explaining the properties of substances in our surroundings. For example, classifying a material as a metal versus a nonmetal allows us to predict that it may conduct heat and electricity quite well. Similarly, identifying a substance as an ionic compound allows us to explain why its aqueous solution conducts electricity. Classifications are often loose categories with gray areas, but they support chemical thinking when seeking to synthesize new substances, determine the identity of a material, or control a chemical process.
The Chemical Substances Inventory (CSI) formative assessment was developed by the ACCT team (indicated by the star).
The CSI survey is a formative assessment tool for learning about how students think about identifying and differentiating chemical substances. It has been tested in middle school, high school, and university chemistry classes. More information about the CSI survey is freely available in an open-access article in the Jourrnal of Chemcal Education. The CSI survey itself can be adapted by teachers to use as they wish. Refer to question 1 in each version of the survey to investigate students' chemical thinking regarding the question "What types of matter are there?