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States of Matter Lesson for Kids

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Instructor
Dacia Upkins

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

Expert Contributor
Christianlly Cena

Christianlly has taught college Physics, Natural science, Earth science, and facilitated laboratory courses. He has a master's degree in Physics and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree.

Learn about the three most common states of matter in the universe, which are solid, liquid, and gas. Discover the properties of these states and how the particles in these states move. Updated: 12/06/2021

The States of Matter

Shana came home from school one day with a riddle to solve. She had to figure out the name of something that can be poured, but can also be broken. It can float, but it can also melt. What kind of super substance can do all of these things? After some research, she learned that the answer is something we drink everyday: water!

Like other matter (which is all the stuff around you), water can be found or turned into different states of matter, or forms. States of matter are used to describe physical properties (the features you can observe) of matter; whether something is a solid, liquid, or gas. For instance, water is a liquid when melted, it's solid when frozen into ice, and it's a gas when boiled to make steam.

All matter is made up of particles (tiny pieces of matter). The way these particles move around (or don't move around) is how we classify matter into these three different groups. Let's look at each state of matter now.

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  • 0:04 The States of Matter
  • 0:56 Solids
  • 1:30 Liquids
  • 1:52 Gases
  • 2:32 Lesson Summary
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Solids

Imagine being in a crowded room where nobody can move. Solids are made up of particles like this. They're so tightly packed together that they can't move about freely. Since they're stuck in place, their shape usually stays the same. The easiest way to identify a solid is by checking to see if it's hard and has its own shape.

Solids include things like TVs and ice. Don't be confused by things like sand and clay, which may not look like solids but actually are. Sand is just made up of very small pieces of solids, and when clay is left alone, it remains in its shape until molded.

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Additional Activities

States of Matter: Identification Exercise

In this activity, you'll check your knowledge regarding the three most common states of matter.

Guidelines

For this activity, identify whether the highlighted word in each of the given scenario is a solid, liquid, or gas. To do this, you must right-click and print this page. With a pencil and an eraser, neatly write your answers in the blank space provided.


_______________ 1. Nitrogen makes up seventy-eight percent of the Earth's atmosphere.

_______________ 2. The trunk is the most important part of the tree for timber production.

_______________ 3. Your cells use oxygen in the air to make energy so your body can work.

_______________ 4. Tea is one of the world's most commonly consumed beverages.

_______________ 5. Hydroelectric powerplants use energy from running water, such as in waterfalls and dams, to create electricity.

_______________ 6. Clays are used for producing building materials and ceramics.

_______________ 7. Dolomite is used as an ornamental stone, which if powdered serves as artificial beach sand.

_______________ 8. Bees produce honey, a sweet food substance, from the sugary secretions of plants.

_______________ 9. Rubbing alcohol is a denatured and undrinkable solvent, which is commonly used for cleaning and disinfectant purposes.

_______________ 10. Methane fumes are found in small quantities in Earth's atmosphere.


Answer Key

  1. Gas
  2. Solid
  3. Gas
  4. Liquid
  5. Liquid
  6. Solid
  7. Solid
  8. Liquid
  9. Liquid
  10. Gas

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