Classroom Resources: States of Matter


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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Matter Can Taste Good!

    In this activity, students will be introduced to the general differences and organization of particles in each state of matter: solid, liquid and gas. They will have the opportunity to compare the samples and then will identify each state of matter during an edible activity.

  • Phase Changes, Conservation of Matter, Polymers, Chemical Change | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Making Slime

    In this lesson, students explore the science behind chemical reactions as well as the processes used by chemical engineering principles to develop new materials. The idea that mixing two substances can result in an explosion, the release of gas, and the formation of an entirely new substance is both fascinating and mysterious to most young students.

  • Observations, Melting Point, Phase Changes, Introduction, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Let's Get Physical About Water

    In this lesson, students will learn about the phase changes of matter. During the course of two days students will perform several short experiments in order to change the state of water and they will record their observations.

  • Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Introduction, Molecular Motion, Matter | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Introducing States of Matter

    In this lesson, students will investigate particle behavior in different forms of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Students will have an opportunity to examine a model of the particles in the different states of matter and will also participate in a kinesthetic demonstration of matter. They will also learn what makes the states of matter different from one another when changing from one form to another.

  • Observations, Phase Changes, Combustion, Chemical Change | Middle School, Elementary School

    Demonstration: The Jumping Flame

    In this demonstration, students will observe that the vapor of an extinguished candle flame is ignitable.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Melting Point, Phase Changes, Scientific Method | Elementary School

    Lab: Ice Cube Race

    In this lab, students will investigate what factors can influence the change in state of matter from a solid to a liquid. They will have the opportunity to make a hypothesis and participate in the design and completion of an experiment.

  • Physical Properties, Solubility, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Solute & Solvent, Freezing Point Depression, Freezing Point | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Salting Roads in Winter

    In this lesson, students investigate how the freezing point of water changes when salt is added.

  • Density, Physical Properties, Melting Point, Freezing Point, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Molecular Motion, Freezing | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Pothole Science

    In this lesson, students investigate how the density and therefore the volume, of water changes when it freezes.

  • Solubility, Physical Change, Phase Changes, Reaction Rate, Solute & Solvent, Molecular Motion | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Particles in Motion

    In this lesson, students learn that particles that make up matter are in constant motion.

  • Observations, Phase Changes, Physical Change, Temperature | Middle School, Elementary School

    Lab: Condensation

    In this lab, students will explore the process of condensation. Students will investigate how water vapor condenses, and then they will conduct a comparison test to see if cooling water vapor has an effect on the rate of condensation.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Inferences, Physical Change, Identifying an Unknown, Solute & Solvent | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Alien Invasion?

    In this lesson, students will explore both physical and chemical changes as they try to help the Department of Homeland Security analyze and identify materials found in a mysterious capsule. Students will examine and observe an unknown object (a frozen water balloon) as it changes (melts). They then mix combinations of everyday substances to observe chemical changes.

  • Separating Mixtures, Mixtures, Physical Change, Physical Change, Phase Changes, Introduction, Interdisciplinary, Distillation, Solute & Solvent, Mixture, Mixture | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Now I Can Drink the Water!

    In this lesson, students review important concepts of the water cycle and then design, test, and evaluate a working model of a desalination plant (a distiller).

  • Density, Melting Point, Inferences, Elements, Periodic Table, Matter, Chemical Properties | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: Mystery Metals

    In this lesson, students will make measurements, calculations, and inferences to help solve a mystery about the identity of an unknown metal.

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