The states of matter (6-8)

The states of matter (6-8)

I can describe the characteristics of the three main states of matter.

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The states of matter (6-8)

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A "state of matter" is the physical form or substance of an object. Nearly every object we see or come into contact with is either a solid, liquid, or gas. We sit on a solid chair, drink water to stay hydrated, and breathe in air which is made up of a mixture of different gases. By recognizing the role that different states of matter play, we can better understand the world around us.



Learning objective

Students will be able to recognize and describe the three main states of matter.


This lesson begins by reminding students that physical characteristics are things you can observe without changing the composition of the object, such as the density of an apple or the length of a wire. Students are then asked to think of and list the physical characteristics of solids, liquids, and gases to get students thinking about the qualities and differences between these states of matter.


A solid is a state of matter with a fixed or set volume and shape. The atoms and molecules within solids are packed so tightly together that they can't move, only vibrate and turn in place.

A liquid has a fixed volume but takes the shape of whatever container it is in. This is because the molecules in a liquid have more energy than in a solid, allowing them to move and slide freely past each other, allowing the shape to change.

A gas, meanwhile, has no fixed volume or fixed shape. Gas molecules have more energy than solid or liquid molecules, and gas molecules move freely inside whatever space they reside in.

Plasma is the fourth state of matter, and plasma molecules have more energy than molecules in any other state of matter. Examples of plasma are the sun and lightning.


Students will respond to seven drag-to-sort and multiple-choice questions.


To end this lesson, students are asked to restate the characteristics of the three main states of matter.

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