What's The Matter?
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Shikilia Tukes Ninos Heroes
8344 S Commercial
Chicago IL 60617
1. Students will be able to name the three states of matter.
2. Students will be able to identify solids, liquids, and gases.
3. Students will be able to state the properties of the different states of
4. Students will be able to compare and contrast the properties of the
different states of matter.
Chalkboard, 4 markers, paper bags (for holding the solids), 4 small
containers of water, 4 different colored blocks, 4 small containers of oil, 4
balances, 4 balances, flannel board with velcro stick-ons, fan, 4 microplates,
streamers, water, 2 plastic glasses, milk, fish tank, juice, 4 syringes, honey,
2 liter bottles, soda pop, a large balance, block, baking soda, 3 different
shaped clear containers, vinegar, 1 large clear container (for measuring),
bottle with a straw through the cap, 3 different shaped containers, 5 plastic
glasses, colored water
1. Have students name some things that come to mind when they hear the words
"everything in the world".
2. Explain that things in the world can be put into groups. Tell them that
shirts and blouses can be grouped as tops; pants and skirts can be grouped
as bottoms; and sandals and Air Jordan's can be grouped as shoes. Also
mention that tops, bottoms, and shoes can be put under a bigger heading
called clothing. Have them tell you how another category such as food can
3. Explain that everything in our world can be put into one of three groups.
Solids (Two-Day Lesson)
4. Take different colored blocks out of a bag and ask students what they notice
about the blocks. (How are they different?)
5. Take different size buttons out of a bag and ask students how are they
6. Take different shaped geometric figures out of a bag (try to get them
similar in volume) and ask them how are they different.
7. Put students in groups. Give each group a bag with objects of different
shapes and different textures. Tell them that you want them to feel inside
the bag without looking in the bag (model). Ask them about what they are
feeling. Discuss the shapes that they can feel. (Can they feel something
round, square, etc.? Have students take the items out of the bag and then
compare textures of the objects.
8. Ask students what else they notice about the objects. Have them pick the
objects up. Ask do they weigh the same. How can we find out which is
heavier? Have each group choose items that they think have different
weights, hypothesize about which weighs more, and then weigh the objects.
Have each group report their hypothesis and their actual findings (model).
Make sure you also demonstrate how to use the balance. (Compare using a
balance to playing on a seesaw).
9. Tell students that everything that they have seen to this point is called a
solid. Take out flannel board which is titled Matter. However, at this
point do not show the title. Only reveal the column headings (volume,
shape, and weight) and one subheading (solid). Define solids and stick on
pictures made of felt and velcro. There should be a stick-on picture
showing that solids have volume, one showing that they have shape, and one
showing that they have weight. Stick the pictures under the appropriate
Liquids (Three-Day Lesson)
10. Move a block from one clear container to another and from the second
container to a third container (all containers should have different shapes)
and ask if the shape of the solid changed. Pour colored water from one
container to another and from the second container to the third container
and ask if the shape of the water changed. Ask what was the shape of the
water in each container.
11. Pass out microplates with various types of liquid in it. Tell the
students to feel each liquid. (Model) Ask what they notice.
12. Display plastic glasses with different volumes of milk in them. Ask what
they notice. (Does the milk in the containers take up the same amount of
13. Take the different shaped clear containers back out and pour the same volume
of colored water in them. Have the class hypothesize about which container
has the most and least water in it. Have a student place the container in
order by most to least volume of water and ask the class whether they
agree or disagree by a show of hands. Measure the amount of water in a
container by pouring the water from one container into a fourth container
and marking off the water level on the fourth container. Pour the water
back into the first container. Use the same technique to measure the water
in the other two containers.
14. Pass out four containers of water to each group. Have them hypothesize
about whether the volume of water in the containers are the same or
different. (You can have one group's containers have the same volume and
another group's containers have all different volumes.) Then have them
measure the water in each container using the same technique demonstrated
above. After each group measures, ask them to show the class their
containers, tell their hypothesis, and their results.
15. Distribute one small container of oil and one small container of water to
each group. Ask them how they are different. Ask them if one container is
harder to pick up than the other. Ask them how they could tell if one is
heavier than the other. Have them hypothesize about the weight and then
16. Tell students that everything that they have seen to this point is called a
liquid. Show flannel board. This time reveal the subheading titled liquid.
Define liquids and put on felt stick-ons showing the properties of a liquid
under the appropriate column (volume, shape, and weight).
Gases (Three-Day Lesson)
17. Turn on the fan with the streamers attached to the face of it. Ask the
students what is causing the streamers to move. Ask if they can feel air.
18. Ask students to try to grab the air. Ask them where is the air.
Then ask can they feel the shape of air.
19. Ask can they see air. Tell students that air is made up of many gases and
most gases cannot be seen.
20. Ask the students if they think that gases have volume. Do an experiment
using a fish tank, a glass, and sheet of paper. Ball the paper up and put
it in the bottom of the glass. Invert and push the glass straight down in
the tank filled with water. Ask what they notice. Show them that the paper
is dry. Let the water in a little at a time and then ask them what they
notice. Explain that we know that air is taking up space in the glass
because as the the glass is tilted something comes out to make room for the
water to come in. Ask what they see coming out. Tell them that the bubble
is an air bubble. Show that you can make the paper wet.
21. Demonstrate that air takes up space. Put a stopper in the tip of a plastic
syringe and push the plunger as far as you can. Pass out syringes to each
group and let students push the plunger as far as they will go. Tell them
that they cannot push the plunger all the way to the tip because something
(air) is pushing back. Demonstrate that the amount of air can stay the
same, but the volume of air can change. Have the students pull the syringe
all the way to the top and then push down to the middle. Ask them if the
amount of air stayed the same. Then ask if the volume of air changed.
22. Ask if gases have weight. Weigh two one-liter bottles of air to show that
they weigh the same. Then mix baking soda and vinegar in a bottle and
transfer the carbon dioxide to one of the liter bottles. Weigh the bottles
again. Discuss which weighs more, the air or the carbon dioxide.
23. Tell students that today they have learned about gases. Show flannel
board. This time reveal the subheading titled gases. Attach felt stick-ons
and review the properties of gases putting the stick-ons in the appropriate
Summary (One-Day Lesson)
24. Tell students that everything in our world is either a solid, liquid, or
gas or some combination. Review the properties of each using the flannel
board. Tell students that all the things we talked about are called matter.
Reveal the title of the flannel board. Tell students that matter is
anything that takes up space and has weight. Just as clothes can be grouped
into tops, bottoms, and shoes, matter can be grouped into solids, liquids,
and gases. Take sticks-on off the flannel board and select students to put
them back in the appropriate columns.
Tell the students that one of their parents asked them to help make
muffins. (S)He said that they could mix the solids and that (s)he would mix the
liquids since the liquids can be so messy. The students are to sort out the
solids and the liquids. Have pictures of each ingredient--e.g. flour, cornmeal
mix with egg already in it, salt, baking powder, pepper, oil, and milk--
available for the children to sort and stick on a poster board titled Matter
in the Mix. They can put the pictures under the appropriate column heading of
solid, liquid, or gas. Ask them if air is all around them do they think that
there will be gases in the muffin mix. (Have a picture of an air bubble so
that they can stick it on the poster too.)
Adler, Francis. Finding Out About Solids, Liquids, and Gases. Westchester, IL
Branley, Franklin. Air Is All Around You New York: Crowell, 1986.