Physical Properties: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:00 What Are Physical Properties?
  • 0:55 Common Physical Properties
  • 2:06 Importance of Physical…
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michelle Vannoy
In this lesson, we will define the term 'physical properties' and list examples of physical properties. We will also learn how we use physical properties to describe substances and why scientists find physical properties so important.

What Are Physical Properties?

It's a beautiful, warm spring day. The bright, yellow sun is shining, and there are just a few puffy, white clouds floating lazily in the sky. You hear a bee buzzing in the distance. While you run through the field, you can smell the fresh cut grass and flowers in bloom. You decide to pick a rose from the bush to take to your mom and feel the prick of a thorn. Days like this are amazing!

This story about a beautiful spring day is full of scientific physical properties. A physical property is a characteristic that you can measure or observe without changing the make-up of the matter. So, you can observe them with your five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Or you can measure them using tools, like using a thermometer to measure temperature.

Common Physical Properties

As we discussed, physical properties can be observable or measurable. Let's explore some of the common types of properties in each category.

Observable physical properties include:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Odor
  • Hardness
  • Physical state of matter (whether it is a liquid, solid, or gas)

Measurable physical properties include:

  • Volume
  • Mass
  • Weight
  • Temperature
  • Freezing point
  • Boiling point
  • Melting point

In the beautiful spring day story, most of the adjectives describing the spring day are physical properties. For example, yellow describes the color of the sun, which is an observable property. What about when you 'smell the fresh cut grass and flowers in bloom?' This statement describes odor, which is another observable physical property. What about the warmth of the spring day? That's a measurable property: to know the actual temperature that day, we would use a thermometer.

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