How to Teach the States of Matter

how to teach the states of matter
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If you’re getting ready to teach the states of matter, then you’re in luck! In this blog post, you will find detailed instructions for teaching 3rd grade students about the three states of matter—solid, liquid, and gas. Through real-world examples and interactive activities, your students will gain a better understanding of each state and be able to explain their properties with ease. By the end of this lesson, your students will have a solid grasp of the three states and be able to accurately classify objects as solids, liquids, or gases. Let’s get started! Plus, I have a free printable you can use alongside this lesson plan.

Step 1: Introduce the Topic – States of Matter

To begin the lesson, students will first be introduced to what states of matter are and why they are important. Explain that matter is anything with mass and volume, and that it exists in three different forms: solid, liquid, and gas.

Provide students with some real-world examples of things with mass and volume. Some examples are a basketball, water, and oxygen. Ask students to identify the differences in each of these examples.

Step 2: Explain Each of the States of Matter

  • Explain to students that solids have a definite shape and volume. They do not easily change their form, and they are unable to be compressed. Give examples of solid objects such as a pencil or a table.
  • Liquid has no definite shape but does have a definite volume. It is able to take the shape of its container and it can be compressed. Give examples of liquids such as water or juice.
  • Gas has no definite shape or volume, and is able to take the shape of its container. It is not easily compressible and will expand when heated. Give examples of gases such as oxygen or carbon dioxide.

Step 3: Visualize Each State of Matter

Allow students to visualize what each state of matter looks like. You can use pictures or videos to show examples, and then ask questions such as “What makes this an example of a solid?” or “What makes this an example of a liquid?”

  • For solids, teachers can bring in small objects like coins or buttons.
  • For liquids, they can bring a clear container of water and show how it takes the shape of its container.
  • For gases, they can fill a balloon with air and demonstrate how it expands when heated. They can also use baking soda and vinegar to create a reaction that produces carbon dioxide.

Step 4: Demonstrate Each State of Matter

Using some common objects or images of common objects, demonstrate each state of matter using real-life examples. For example, you can show how water can be a solid (ice) or a liquid (water), and how air is an example of gas by blowing bubbles into the air.

Step 5: Wrap Up Activity

Allow students to complete a wrap-up activity that reinforces their understanding of the lesson. This can include a game where students have to identify objects as either solid, liquid, or gas, or create a poster that shows examples of each state of matter.

One game could be a version of four corners where students move to the correct corner of the room that matches the state of matter that you’re showing them. You’ll only be using 3 corners of the room and label one corner as “solid”, one corner as “liquid”, and one corner as “gas”.

Another game you could have students play is a quick Kahoot or relay race type of game where they have to find an object that matches your description and be the first to run it to the teacher.

By completing this lesson, students will be able to recognize and explain the differences between the three states of matter. They should be able to identify examples of each state and explain how the properties of each state impact its behavior.

Make sure you grab this free states of matter flip book to implement alongside the lesson above.

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how to teach the states of matter