Properties of Solids: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Are Solids?
  • 0:22 Observing Physical Properties
  • 1:55 Measuring Physical Properties
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Greta VanBrackle

Greta has eleven years of experience teaching third and fourth grade students in all subject areas.

Physical properties are characteristics of matter that we can either observe or measure. In this lesson, you will learn about the properties of solids and how to observe or measure them.

What Are Solids?

A solid is a material that has tightly packed molecules and keeps its own size and shape. An apple is one example of a solid. When you eat an apple, you probably don't think about how many properties, or observable or measurable characteristics, that apple has. There are a lot! Let's explore some now.

Observing Physical Properties

You can observe the properties of a solid in two ways: by using your five senses or by using measurement tools. Let's start by looking at the properties that you can observe with your sense of sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch.

One of these properties is shape. Solids can take on many different shapes. They can be short, long, flat, thick, rectangular, oval, and so forth.

Another property is color. The color of a solid is one of its observable properties. Red, for instance, is the color of an apple.

Texture identifies how a solid feels. An apple might feel smooth on the outside and grainy on the inside.

Hardness refers to how hard it is to bend, dent or otherwise change the shape of the solid. For instance, a penny is very hard in comparison to Play-Doh.

Luster describes a solid's ability to reflect light. An object with high luster, such as crystal and gold, is sparkly or shimmery in the light.

Buoyancy measures a solid's ability to float in a liquid. Solids will float when they're less dense than the liquid they're in. You can test an apple's buoyancy by placing it in a container of water. Since the apple is less dense, it will float.

Odor is the way a solid smells. When you bite into a fresh apple, the apple might smell sweet. A rotten apple might have its own rancid smell, too. Yuck!

Taste is another observable property of solids. For example, red apples tend to be sweet, while green apples are usually sour.

Measuring Physical Properties

When we measure physical properties of solids, we have to use special tools; our senses aren't enough. Let's learn about the properties that we must measure.

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