Solid, Liquid, or Gas  

by Dena R. Hall

picture of Dena

This lesson was created as a part of the SMART website and is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology


Biology/Chemistry

This lesson is intended for grades 3-5, although it can easily be adapted for lower or higher grades.

1.            Students will be able to distinguish similarities and differences of matter.

2.            Students will be able to recognize that different states of matter may appear in one substance .

Materials:

Shaving cream

Paper towels

Penny

Magnifying glass

Tablespoon

Cornstarch

Water

Plastic Spoon

Worksheet

Strategy:

Students will be grouped into fours.  Each member will actively participate and assume one of the following roles:   The READER will read the directions for the activity.   The GETTER will gather the materials needed for the activity.   The STARTER will perform the experiment.   The RECORDER will record the data.   ALL will take part in the clean up.

Activity 1:

The teacher should review the properties of each of the states of matter before the students begin the experiment.  The getter collects all the materials needed for the activity, which include shaving cream, 2 paper towels, and a penny.  The reader reads the directions, while the starter squirts a small amount of shaving cream onto one of the paper towels.  The students are to look at the shaving cream and decide, as a group, whether or not ‘shaving cream’ is a solid, liquid, or a gas.  The recorder meanwhile writes down their responses.  

  Next, the starter will squirt a small amount of shaving cream onto the other paper towel, then gently place a penny on top of the shaving cream blob.  What happens?  The recorder writes down the group’s responses.  The starter uses a magnifying glass to get a better look.  Each group member also looks at the shaving cream using the magnifying glass.  Each member rubs a little shaving cream between his or her thumb and index finger.   The recorder then writes down more responses.   The shaving cream blob is left out overnight.  The students examine it closely the next day. The recorder will write down any changes.

Activity 2:

In this activity, students will create another weird state of matter by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.  (The starter does the mixing.)  Each member will stir the substance quickly and notice that the material acts more like a solid, but when they mix it slowly, it will act more like a liquid.  The recorder writes down the group’s responses on the worksheet.

Performance Assessment:

Students will be assessed in two ways: by group participation and completed worksheets.

Conclusions:              

It’s not always so easy to say definitely that a substance is a solid, liquid, or gas.  Some materials, like cornstarch, when mixed with water can act more like a solid, when treated a certain way and more like a liquid when treated a different way.  Shaving cream, on the other hand, seems to be unusual because it is a liquid soap with a lot of gas bubbles mixed in it.  It’s the gas that makes it so frothy and thick that it is able to keep its shape and support light objects like a penny (a solid).  When the shaving cream stands overnight, the liquid in it evaporates, and all that is left where the gas bubbles once were is a very light and thin, solid layer of soap.  So you can see that shaving cream has the characteristics of all three states. 

References:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/General_Chemistry/Properties_of_Matter/Classification_of_Matter

http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/ooze.html

  

Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

Part 1

Directions:  

In order to do this experiment you will need:

  A paper towel cut in quarters (you'll only use two), shaving cream, and a penny.

1.       Draw a picture of how your lab setup should look.

2.       Place a small amount of shaving cream on a paper towel. Describe the properties of the shaving cream. Is it a solid, liquid, or a gas?  Why do you think so?  Write your responses on the worksheet.

3.       Next, squirt a small amount of shaving cream on the other paper towel.  Gently place a penny on top of it.  What happens?  Write your response on the worksheet.

4.    Rub some shaving cream between you thumb and index finger.  How does it feel?  Write down your response.

5.    Let the shaving cream set out overnight.  Did you notice any change?   Examine the shaving cream blob with a magnifying glass.  What does it look like?  Write your responses on the worksheet.

 

Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

Part 2

 

1.    Draw a picture of how your lab setup should look. 

2.    Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (30 ml) with 1 tablespoon of water (15 ml).   Describe the properties of the cornstarch and water mixture.  Stir the mixture quickly, then slowly.  Does the mixture have attributes like a solid or a liquid? Why do you think so?  Write your response on the worksheet.

3.    Put a small amount of the mixture in you hand.  How does it feel?  Write down your response.

4.    Now, try to pour a little of the mixture.  What happens?

5.    Write two unusual things that you observed about the cornstarch and water mixture.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1547971/dragons_drool_how_to_make_this_medieval.html?cat=4

http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/ooze.html

 

 


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