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States of Matter

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Creative lesson ideas to help you teach about the states of matter; solid, liquid, and gas.
solid, liquid, gas
Posted by:Julianne #33600

I start out by talking about molecules and atoms and how they make up everything in the world. We name things made of atoms - tables, people, water, air. Then we talk about how the molecules and atoms are always moving. Sometimes they are packed tightly together and can move very little. I have the kids get up and be molecules. (I mark a 3 foot circle on the floor with masking tape before we start.) They cluster close together and jiggle. I call out "stop" and ask them to look at where they are standing. How heavy do you think the circle is right now? This is how a solid acts. It is usually pretty heavy because the molecules are packed so close together. Now we "heat things up" by having the kids move a little more. As they move apart I call "stop" once...

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States of matter
Posted by:JohnV #52019

A few ideas:

1. Put a few marbles or small balls in a box and shake the box, the balls are moving a lot and are far apart - this is a gas. Put some more in the box and shake it, the balls are closer together and can't move as freely - this is a gas. Fill the box all the way and shake it, the balls can hardly move - this is a solid.

2. Give students guidelines for classifying solids, liquids, and gases. Then give them examples to investigate and classify according to state.

3. Give students a piece of ice. They can classify it as a solid. Let it melt. Then can reclassify it as a liquid. Boil it away. They can then call it a gas. This shows students that the same matter can be in all three states and still be the same...

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Science
Posted by:Kay #52115

Another way to demonstrate how the particles move in matter is to get some packing peanuts and put them into a 2 liter bottle.
Solid - the peanuts (representing particles or molecules) are close together.
Liquid - turn a hair dryer on low and blow air into the bottle. There is some movement.
Gas - turn the hair dryer on high to demonstrate the faster movement of the particles or molecules.

Another good demonstration of the states of matter is making a liquid change to a solid is to make Tin Can Ice Cream. Mixing the ingredients can be a good measurement exercise. Pour the liquid into a baby food jar and seal it. Place the jar into a coffee can and fill it with ice and rock salt. Place the lid on it. Let the children roll it back and forth until frozen. (This works best...

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Jello aquariums
Posted by:Donna #72450

I did these last year with my Kindergarten class. It was awesome! I took photos of each step and we made a class book using interactive writing to describe the process. I also used this as an opportunity to talk about the changing states of matter....from liquid to gas when the water boils and when the colored jello water hardens to solid jello. It was a great experience. Good luck!


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Make Jello
Posted by:bamagirl #109938

In the past I have always made Jello when I was teaching the three states of matter. It starts as a solid (the powder). When you add the water the powder dissolves and it becomes a liquid. The water is so hot you can see the steam coming off it (a gas). Then, I poured the mixture in several ice cube trays to put in the refrigerator. I let the kids predict what would happen by the next time we looked at it. Later that afternoon or the next day, I would take the trays out of the refrigerator and the Jello has turned back into a solid. Pass out plates, scoop out of the ice trays, and enjoy! :D

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States of Matter
Posted by:Jess #35593

I don't know if this would help you because it may be just a little too close to the same thing you tried, but this did work with my 5th graders. I took a popcicle right from the freezer and told them that matter can CHANGE state, but not be the SAME state as another (solid and a liquid at once). Frozen popcicles are of course the solid. I laid it in a cup and let it melt. When it was all melted, I reminded them that it was no longer a solid, but a liquid. We rediscussed what properties something must have to be a solid, and then a liquid, and wrote them down on the board, so the kids could see that it couldn't be a solid and liquid at the same time, because the properties of it was different. Then, I let the cup sit out for several days on one of our heaters...

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States of matter
Posted by:NJ Teacher #143274

As a culmination to the unit, we do a "Whats-a-matter" party. We make rootbeer floats. The ice cream is the solid, the rootbeer is the liquid and the carbonation in the rootbeer is the gas. The kids love it.

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Alka Seltzer
Posted by:donna #114248

I teach 2nd and we have a kit we follow for Solids Liquids and Gases.
One activity the kids love is dropping an AlkaSeltzer tablet into a cup of water. This is how we kick off the unit.

First they predict what will happen. Most don't know what the tablet is and I don't tell them. We write down properties of the tablet (solid) and properties of the water (liquid). Then everyone at the same time drops the tablet into their water and it starts to bubble up creating a gas.
You should hear the excitement! I tell them to put their hand over the top of the cup to feel the gas. Kind of like the bubbles of a soda when you open it. Finally they draw what happened on their observation page.

You can also introduce the word "dissolving" at...

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solid, liquid and a gas
Posted by:1956BD #143283

This is a fun thing to do with a solid, liquid and a gas. Collect several of those little plastic film canisters with the lid. Fill each about two thirds with water (liquid). Then add about one fourth of an Alka Seltzer tablet (solid). Then put the lid on and wait. The canister will make a pop. What is making that pop? It is the gas! The kids will love it.

Try it yourself first to make sure the strength of your tablets gives the right level of pop. You do not want the gas to blow the lid off and scare your students. I have never had that happen, but just be sure with your brand of tablets. I always buy the cheapest generic brand.


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states of matter
Posted by:Rebecca #12284

I just did this unit. I conducted a couple of experiments at the close of it.
1. First, I had them look around to name things in our room made of matter. They gave me numerous responses. Then I asked them to find something in our room that wasn't made of matter. This was much harder. I then presented a clear plastic glass filled halfway with water. I drew a line for the water level. I held up a golf ball. I asked if this was matter. They said yes, I placed it in the water and we saw the water level rise. We marked that level and knew the answer was yes. I then removed the ball. Next, I asked them if light was matter. Some said yes and some said no. We looked at the water level again. Then I shined a flashlight in the water. They realized it was...

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solid, liquid, gas
Posted by:Rosalyn #55475

Ooblik or Magic Mud works great! I just finished that unit and the kids loved that experiment! Most even went home and made it with their parents. I was able to get a bunch of experiments from a book called Solids, Liquids and Gases by The Ontario Science Centre. I still have the book if any one is interested in getting some ideas from it. I think this is one of the harder units for some of the students to understand the concepts and these experiments really helped.

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Posted by:ssschiess #114236

In our Kindergarten we teach the kids a drill it goes like this
Solid, Liquid, Gas
Solid, Liquid, Gas
The states of Matter just ask our class
Solid has shape,
Liquid takes one
Gas has none
We do this during our science time and also during morning meeting drills. Helps the kids to remember.
Suzanne

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There is so much you can do
Posted by:suem #143285

When you start, start with the solids since that is what the kids at this age will understand. You can get things of similar color and other attributes and have them catagorize them. It's fun to see how they see similarities we might not think of. I had color, shape, bendable, and another I can't think of right now, but I'm sure you get the picture. When you move to liquids you can show them how liquid takes the shape of the container. You might pour some water in several different shaped containers and ask the kids if the same amount is in each. The ususally say no, then pour each into a measuring cup, one at a time and show them that it is the same amount of water, the shape makes it look different. Remember too, liquids are thick as well as...

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Magic Wands
Posted by:nuhusker98 #109964

I use magic wands (5th grade) to show the states of matter. At the local pet store they sell clear plastic tubing that I think is used for fish tanks. I buy a length of that and have my husband cut it into 8 inch sections. I take that part to school. Then I help students cool glue a cork into one end of it. Next, we put in some glitter and sparkly confetti. To that we add some water so that the tube is about 75% full. Then we cool glue another cork into the open end so that the tube is safely sealed...Voila, a magic wand that shows solids, liquids and gasses! It comes out looking really cool, and with Harry Potter coming out, most of my class was really psyched to make these!

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Re: Student Projects
Posted by:NJ Teacher #127623

For states of matter, we do collages. Fold a piece of construction paper into thirds and label each one solid, liquid and gas. The kids look through magazines and glue pictures of each state under the appropriate heading. When we share, each child or group explains why they chose one of their pictures under each category. March is Women's History Month. I think that April may be Poetry Month, but I'm not positive about that one.

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matter
Posted by:teachjam #128225

Start with the experiment of vinegar in a clear 2 liter bottle
Put 2 T of baking soda in it
Quickly put a balloon over the bottle and watch the balloon enlarge.
THE kids love it. Then get them to draw and write about it.

I also show them the experiment materials first and have them PREDICT what will happen to the balloon.

Then I show them.

Then we define which things are solids, liquids, and gases.
We then look for magazine examples.

I have them make puppets sometimes: Mr. Solid, and define his shape
and Mrs. Liquid, define it, and BABY Gas. The next day they write a story with them.

We also define molecules. Then I have them act out molecules of the solid, then the liquid, and finally gas. They LOVE this....

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solid, liquid, gas
Posted by:mab #114258

I have my second graders use their index finger as a testing finger for solids, liquids, and gases. They ask 2 questions while using their fingers: Can you put your finger thru it?
Can you pour it?
If you get 2 no's, then it's a solid.
2 yes's, then it's a liquid.
1 no, 1 yes, then it's a gas.

Another thing we do is act out how matter behaves. They each become a molecule of matter. First we bunch up together as tightly as we can so that we can't move, then we're a solid. Then we take a step backward and we can move more freely, then we're a liquid. After that we move way far apart where we can float all over, then we're a gas! They always understand it! :s)


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matter
Posted by:amber rose #52823

We first discuss that matter takes up space---books, desk, person, etc. but things like feelings, dreams, thoughts do not. I ask them if they think light takes up space. Usually some say yes and others say no. I ask them to explain their answer. The yeses usually say that it is here in the space of our room. So we do an experiment.....

I have a plastic cup that I fill with a little water and we mark the line on the side. I ask for predictions if I place a golf ball in it. They usually predict right. So I place the ball in the cup and we mark the new line. Yes, this takes up space so it must be matter. Then I take the ball out. We look at our original line. Now I am going to shine a light into the cup. Predict--now many want to...

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Matter
Posted by:A&W #129755

You might consider making butter with "whipping cream". It's always fun to watch kids just amazed at how this liquid becomes butter right before their eyes. Don't forget to make a loaf of bread as well, I use a bread maker. The kids think it's cool to place all these separate ingredients and watch the bread materialize by the end of the day. The bread also goes very well with the butter you made earlier.

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States of Matter
Posted by:5th grade #97863

You could make icecream in zip lock bags, you could also make ooblek, (google that one, it is just baking soda and water). Another great way to show the three pases of matter is to give each child an icecube to hold in thier hands until it melts. Then later in the day tell them that you are going to collect your ice cubes, leading to a discussion on evaporation.

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