States of Matter

Herbert C. Favors Wendell Smith School
744 E. 103rd Street
Chicago IL 60628
(312) 535-5690


Grades 5-7
The students will be able to:
1. Define matter.
2. Identify the states of matter.
3. Explain the properties of matter.
4. Demonstrate the various uses of the states of matter.

Materials Needed:

various solids plastic bottles peas
various liquids pasta beads
various gases beans buttons
A 2 liter pop bottle notebook paper coat hanger
A helium filled balloon ziplock plastic bags 1 beaker
A round balloon hot plate 1 plastic pan


Activity I:
1. Have students identify items on display that are solids, liquids, and gases.
2. Ask students to define the states of matter.
3. Demonstrate the example to the students about the ice in its solid state and
how it changes its phase by melting it into the liquid state and heating the
water to show gas state.

Activity II:
1. Take two balloons, one filled with air and the other filled with helium gas
and tape both of them on the desk.
2. Ask students to describe what is happening to the balloons.
3. Have a student hold both balloons and let them go.
4. Ask students to describe what they have seen.
5. Explain to the students that both balloons have gas in them, one air and the
other helium.
6. Have students explain why one balloon fell to the floor and the other floated
to the ceiling. Explain to the students that most gases cannot be seen but
gases have weight and volume. The balloon with the air in it was heavier
than the balloon with the helium gas and this is why the helium filled
balloon floated to the ceiling because it was lighter in weight. The air
filled balloon fell to the floor because it was heavier.

Activity III:
1. Have students take a sheet of paper and make a paper airplane.
2. Ask students to see if their planes will fly. Have them explain what makes
their plane fly. Have students take another sheet of paper and hold it at
one end. Then have them blow very hard over the top of it. Ask them to
explain what is happening.
3. Explain to the students that the paper rises slightly because of the moving
air above it causes the pressure to be lower and lift is created. The
airplane operates in the same manner. Air travelling across the top has to
travel faster than the air below. This creates the lift which makes the
airplane fly. This is called the principal of flight.

Activity IV:
1. Make a water-wheel by using a 2 liter plastic pop bottle and a piece of coat
hanger. Cut four, 4 inch flaps into the plastic 2 liter bottle and fold the
flaps back about 1 inch. Put a hole into the cap and the bottom of the 2
liter bottle so that the piece of coat hanger will fit into the hole. The
bottle can then spin and rotate around it. Fill a plastic gallon container
with water and use a plastic tray to catch the water while pouring it over
the water-wheel to cause it to spin.
2. While water is poured over the water-wheel, students can observe that water
is a powerful source of energy and very economical to use. Explain to the
students that water-wheels were utilized during the Industrial Revolution to
provide power for factories. Also inform students that hydroelectric power
is generated by water.

Activity V:
1. Demonstrate various sounds by making a shaker with 1 liter plastic bottle.
Place matter such as peas, beans, pasta, beads, and buttons into the bottle
and screw the cap on the bottle and shake it. Ask students to shake the
plastic bottles and observe the different kinds of sound they will get based
on the kind of matter (solids) used.
2. Have students explain what causes sound and why they are getting different
types of sound.
3. Explain to the students that anything that vibrates makes sound. Vibrations
can travel through water, glass, brick, concrete and other substances. When
the vibrating air reaches your ear, it makes the eardrum move in and out, and
this is why you hear sound.

Performance Assessment:

1. Part of the assessment is the student's responses during the discussions.
2. A quiz to test their knowledge of the states of matter and their uses.


Adler, Frances. Finding, Out About Solids, Liquids, and Gases Westchester, Il
Branley, Franklin. Air Is All Around You New York
Cleaves, Janice Van. Chemistry For Every Kid New York
Wiley, John. Chemistry Globe Co.
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