Solids, liquids, and gasses: Oh My! Almost all of us teach the states of matter in our elementary classrooms. This is an important concept for students to understand when learning about matter and its interactions. Here are my go-to States of Matter activities!
Introduce States of Matter
Typically, it is beneficial to introduce a science topic by pre-teaching vocabulary and terms. Using an anchor chart with clear and simple descriptions will allow you to introduce important vocabulary and concepts. This will set students up for success when they’re digging deeper into the topic. In the anchor chart above, each state of matter is listed with a simple description, examples and an illustration. Keep this on display while students are further exploring the states of matter!
Allow Them to Explore Each State
Next, it is time to explore each state. During this exploration portion of your unit, students should be reading and writing about each of the states of matter. I would provide reading materials and graphic organizers or activities that allow students to read and write about solids, liquids and gasses. Your reading materials can be from your science text, printable passages, or topic books (I have some listed later in the blog). Have your students write about what they’re reading with graphic organizers or note-taking strategies. The picture shows a few of the printable activities from the No-Prep Matter Unit.
Use Tactile Objects to Represent Particles
Adding in a hands-on activity will help your students understand the different states of matter. Grab some sticky notes and circular objects! Use the sticky notes to represent each of the three states of matter and the circular objects to represent the particles. You can use fruit loops, cheerios, m&ms, skittles, coins, plastic counters, etc. Have your students arrange the “particles” within each sticky note area to show the state of matter. You can even print different shapes to repeat this activity! Print items that represent each of the states: a desk, pitcher of water, helium tank, cloud, ice cube, glass of water, etc.
Stock Up on Texts for Students to Explore
Of course, we should always grab texts to have available for our students. These states of matter texts can be used for lessons, as idepedent or partner reading materials, note-taking and more!
- All About Matter
- What’s the Matter in Mr. Whisker’s Room
- What is the World Made Of?
- Changing Matter
- Physical Science: Matter
- The Nature of Matter
Dive Into Changing States of Matter
Once your students have a basic understanding of each state, you can begin talking about changing states. BrainPop has a great video on changing states! Then, your students can use the interactive graphic organizers, activities and quiz to help them understand the concept.
When you dive into this concept, be sure to incorporate passages, books, videos, and activities that can show how states of matter can change. You can even repeat the activities you’ve done with each state with a shift in focus to changing states. For example, create an anchor chart with new vocabulary, have students read and write about changing states, use circular objects to represent how the particles change from one state to the next.
Suggested No-Prep Resource to Help
Finally, if you’re looking for an all-inclusive resource, I have one for you! This No-Prep Pack has everything you need to teach about the states of matter in your elementary classroom. With comprehension passages and writing activities for matter and each of the states, you won’t need to reinvent the wheel or go searching for one! Click the link below for a closer look!