Classroom Resources: States of Matter


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  • Melting Point, Phase Changes, Heat | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Chocolate Changes

    In this lesson, students will review what they know about the three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas). They will perform a word sort about states of matter and discuss how substances can exist in more than one state of matter. Following this they will contribute to a KWL (Know, Want to know, Learned) chart. The teacher will conclude the lesson with a demonstration using chocolate.

  • Melting Point, Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Boiling Point, Molecular Geometry | High School

    Activity: Examining the Strength of Intermolecular Forces of Attraction

    In this activity, students will be able to understand the strength of the attractions of the three intermolecular forces (IMFs) and use this information to help identify physical properties of molecules (such as melting point, boiling point or states of matter).

  • Melting Point, Phase Changes, Phase Diagram, Molecular Motion, Calorimetry, Heat, Specific Heat, Temperature, Intermolecular Forces, Heating Curve, Boiling Point, Law of Conservation of Energy | High School

    Lesson Plan: Phase Changes and Heat Transfer

    The AACT high school classroom resource library and multimedia collection has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We constructed a unit plan using AACT resources that is designed to teach the Phase Changes and Heat Transfer to your students.

  • Phase Changes, Radiation, Half Lives, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Activity: Radioactive Dating: The Demise of Frosty

    In this activity students will investigate the idea that carbon dating is based on gathering evidence in the present and extrapolating it to the past. Students will use a simple graph to extrapolate data to its starting point and then pool the data to make a graph that simulates half-life. Students will be introduced to solving mathematical problems that involve half-life.

  • Phase Changes, Intermolecular Forces | High School

    Activity: The Behavior of Solids and Liquids

    In this activity, students will be able to explore and explain behaviors of liquids and solids based on the individual particles in the states of matter

  • Phase Changes, Molecular Motion | Middle School

    Activity: Atoms in Motion

    In this activity, students will explore how particles that make up matter are in constant motion. The students will use an online PhET simulation to compare the ways that atoms and molecules move in samples of solids, liquids, and gases. This activity will help students improve their understanding of the particle level.

  • Phase Changes, Molecular Motion

    Simulation: States of Matter and Phase Changes

    In this simulation, students will participate in a 10 question quiz. Some questions will challenge students to analyze data to identify the correct state of matter for a specific sample, and then connect the chosen state with an animated particle diagram. In addition, students will examine the behavior of particles in an animated sample as they undergo a phase change, and must correctly identify the change that occurs.

  • Phase Changes, Molecular Motion | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Simulation Activity: States of Matter and Phase Changes

    In this simulation, students will participate in a 10 question quiz. Some questions will challenge students to analyze data to identify the correct state of matter for a specific sample, and then connect the chosen state with an animated particle diagram. In addition, students will examine the behavior of particles in an animated sample as they undergo a phase change, and must correctly identify the change that occurs.

  • Density, Phase Changes, Specific Heat, Exothermic & Endothermic | High School

    Lab: Chemistry is Cooler Stress Test Challenge

    In this lab, students will design and build a device capable of insulating an ice cube submerged in boiling water for two minutes. In this open-ended inquiry based activity, students will be required to critically think about structure and function of the materials they wish to use to build a device to solve a complex real-world problem. Students must consider the thermal properties of the materials, density, and the need to form a non-permeable barrier between the ice cube and the boiling water.

  • Physical Properties, Molecular Motion | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Categorizing States of Matter

    In this activity students will analyze both written statements and images that describe the properties of a solid, liquid or gas. Students will determine which state of matter the description best describes and categorize it accordingly.

  • Mixtures, Melting Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Freezing Point Depression | Middle School, High School

    Lab: How does Salt "Melt" Ice?

    In this lab, students will consider why salt is used to aide in snow clearing and to help keep icy roads safe. They will investigate how salt ‘melts’ ice and determine the best type of salt to do so. Additionally, students will explore the advantages and disadvantages of the various different types of salt.

  • Separating Mixtures, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Distillation | Middle School

    Activity: Distillation in Survival Mode

    In this activity, students will investigate methods for purifying water as they consider a survival based situation that requires clean drinking water. Students will investigate processes such as boiling and distillation, as well as review the phase changes within the water cycle.

  • Phase Changes, Elements, Mixtures | High School

    Activity: Visualizing States of Matter

    In this activity, students will view, sort and classify pure substances and mixtures into the 3 common states of matter found in the laboratory. Students will also discuss their classification system with their teacher and peers.

  • Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Polymers | Middle School

    Lab: Changing a Monomer to a Polymer!

    In this lab, students will have the opportunity to see the complexity of the different phases of matter. This lab will allow students to investigate polymers and physical properties, while connecting these concepts to the phases of matter. Students will also better understand that some substances are not easily identified as a particular phase of matter and that some substances can have characteristics of more than one phase of matter.

  • Density, Temperature, Density, Molecular Motion | Elementary School

    Lab: Observing Density of Gases and Liquids

    Students will learn about and discuss the behavior of a gas using examples of convection and an optional teacher-led demonstration. Students will then participation in a lab where they will investigate water currents by observing the results of mixing colored warm water with room temperature water. The lab will be followed by a discussion about the molecular activity of the water mixture.

  • Physical Properties, Melting Point, Phase Changes, Boiling Point | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Investigating Water's States of Matter

    In this lesson, the students will identify properties of different states of matter, and then work in groups to model molecular arrangement in the solid, liquid, and gaseous states of water. This lesson will also help students to understand that the change in state as a physical change and how the solid state of water has unique properties.

  • Density, Phase Changes | Elementary School

    Lab: Making Clouds

    In this lab students will investigate liquid density by creating model “clouds” with shaving cream in a glass of water. They will add food coloring in order to make the clouds heavy and cause them to rain.

  • Phase Changes, Physical Change | Middle School

    Lab: I Can’t Believe It’s Butter!

    In this lab students will learn about the phases of matter and phase changes while making a small sample of butter.

  • Renewable Energy, Phase Changes, Photosynthesis | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: Mini Terrarium

    In this lab, students will learn that even the smallest spaces can have their own climate. They will create a miniature sized terrarium and will observe how sunlight enters in order to warm the air, and in turn heat the soil and seeds. Condensation will build up in the container and the students can observe the water cycle in action, as well as the growth of the seeds over time.

  • Physical Properties, Chemical Change, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Analyzing Root Beer Floats

    In this activity students will observe the states of matter while making a root beer float. They will also discover the differences between a solid, a liquid and a gas.

  • Mixtures, Freezing Point, Phase Changes | Elementary School

    Lab: Coffee Creamer Ice Cream

    In this lab, students will investigate how dissolving salt (sodium chloride) in water changes the freezing point of the solution. While investigating this, they will make ice cream from small coffee creamer cups.

  • Melting Point, Covalent Bonding, Ionic Bonding, Molecular Structure | High School

    Lab: Ionic vs. Covalent Compounds

    In this lab, students will compare two seemingly similar substances, salt and sugar. Through melting a sample of each substance and analyze of their chemical composition, students will draw conclusions regarding ionic and covalent compounds.

  • Phase Changes | Middle School

    Project: Sharing Matter

    In this project, students will design a lesson and activity about the states of matter to share with elementary school students. This project embraces the spirit of the famous quote by Roman philosopher Seneca: by teaching, we learn. In order to successfully teach one of the states of matter to younger students, each group must have advanced knowledge of the subject.

  • Phase Changes, Reaction Rate, Reaction Rate, Chemical Change | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Plop & Fizz Investigation

    In the demonstration the teacher will perform a reaction between water and Alka-Seltzer in order to generate the release of carbon dioxide. Students will observe the chemical reaction, while timing the release of carbon dioxide and observe 3 states of matter. This will be repeated 3 times, each time increasing the number of tablets used.

  • Separating Mixtures, Density, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Interdisciplinary, Culminating Project, Matter | Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: The Castaway!

    In this activity, students use their knowledge of the properties of matter to create and/or design items needed for survival on a deserted island.

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