Physical Change Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Physical Change Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples
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  • 0:00 What Is a Physical Change?
  • 0:45 How to Make Physical Changes
  • 1:34 Water, Ice, and Steam
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dacia Upkins

Dacia has taught all core elementary subjects for 14 years with a Master's degree in Urban Teacher Leadership.

What do making a paper airplane and painting a picture of your favorite animal have in common? They're both examples of physical change. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to define physical change and understand how to make these changes yourself.

What Is a Physical Change?

The first time my sister and I baked chocolate chip cookies, I pouted because hers were perfect and round. Mine looked like alien blobs! My mom comforted me by saying that even though mine looked different, they were still the same tasty cookies. The shape didn't change what the cookie was.

The difference in our cookies is an example of a physical change. A physical change is a change in matter that doesn't change what that matter is. Matter is what everything is made of; what you can see plus a lot of things you can't see. That cookie is made of matter, and so are you.

How to Make Physical Changes

You can create physical changes in many ways. Some physical changes include changing the shape, color, or texture (the feeling) of something. Remember, these changes don't make new things. If you cut your hair, you look different, but you're still the same person, right? These changes make something look and maybe feel different.

You probably cause physical changes all the time, like when you're making art or doing crafts. When you squeeze a lump of clay, you change the shape. If you use a pencil to poke little holes in a piece of paper, you change the texture. And that red paint spilled all over your blue t-shirt? You just changed your shirt's color.

So, even though the clay, paper, and shirt look and feel different, are they still clay, paper, and a shirt? They sure are! You just caused some physical changes.

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