Science: Matter Lessons and Activities

Super Teacher Ideas Lesson : Science States of Matter Lessons
Activities & Lesson Ideas
Science: States of Matter
Lessons, Activities, and Demonstrations
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Super Teacher Ideas
Matter Lesson:  Making Butter
One of many superb ideas from the creative mind of Kathy in Kentucky
4th & 5th Grade Teacher

One activity I like to do when teaching about matter is letting the kids make homemade butter.  Most children have no idea how to make butter.  We start with heavy whipping cream and let it come to room temperature.  I usually set the cream out for about 2 hours before we are going to make the butter, but you can use a microwave to warm it but be careful not to over heat it.

We discuss liquids and solids and decide if the cream is a liquid or solid.  I usually don't tell them what will happen but I let them predict what will happen if we put the cream in a baby food jar and shake it for about 5- 10 minutes. You get all sorts of answers.  When the cream starts to solidify the kids go wild.  We add a pinch of salt and eat our solid butter on some warm rolls.  The kids can see the change taking place which makes the concept much more understandable.

Webmaster note:  Excellent lesson, Kathy!  I do this with my own students at Thanksgiving time and when we're reading about colonial American life.  They see pictures of butter churns in books, then we churn our own butter in baby food jars.  It's great fun...and easy to do!  Thanks for sharing this idea, Kathy!

Super Teacher Ideas - Science - Matter Lessons
Matter Lesson:  Create Goo
Submitted by Isabel in Compton, California
Third Grade Teacher

To teach students about the properties of matter we create goo using glue. Students measure glue and a combination of Borax and water and watch as two substances are combined to form a new substance with properties that are different from those of the original material.  Students see the changes that occur as the goo hardens and becomes very rubbery.  I have also used food coloring to create slime.  Students have a blast making the goo or slime and take it home in Ziploc bags to show to parents.  I also send a copy of the recipe home so that parents can do it at home with their kids.

Webmaster note:  Thanks for the great lesson idea, Isabel!  The recipe is available on many places across the internet.  Here's one site with the recipe:  Create Goo

States of Matter Lesson: Fizz Ball
Another Awesome Idea From Stephanie in North Carolina
Second Grade Teacher

Three States of Matter: Solid, Liquid and Gas - When teaching students about the three states of matter (solid, liquid gas) it can be difficult at times. I have two found hands on activities that will help students to understand it much easier.

Bath Fizz Ball

I began by explaining to the students the definitions of a solid, liquid and gas. I went on to tell them that when a solid and a liquid mix it turns to a gas. On with the fun part, I went out and purchased a Halloween bath fizz ball in the shape of a pumpkin (any bath fizz ball will work.) I told the students that the pumpkin was the solid and explained again the definition of a solid.

Then I have a bowl of hot water as the liquid (the hotter the water the better) and once again explained the definition of a liquid. As, a class we predicted what would happen when I dropped the solid into the liquid and wrote them on the board. I told the students to watch carefully as I dropped the solid (bath fizz ball) into the liquid (water) to see what prediction was correct. Once the ball was dropped into the hot water it began to rapidly fizz up much like a gas going up in the air. While the ball was fizzing we talked about the correct prediction (when a solid and liquid mix, it makes a gas) and why the prediction was correct.

As an added surprise to the students inside the Halloween ball was a small plastic toy which came to the surface of the water once the fizzing was complete. The students were able to grasp this concept very easily and have not forgotten the skill about a solid, liquid and gas.

Matter: Vinegar & Baking Soda Balloon
From Stephanie in North Carolina
Second Grade Teacher

Vinegar and Baking Soda Blowing up a Balloon

I began by explaining to the students the definitions of a solid, liquid and gas. I went on to tell them that when a solid and a liquid mix it turns to a gas. On with the fun part, I brought in an empty 20oz plastic bottle, white vinegar, baking soda, and a balloon.

I told the students that I was going to pour the liquid (vinegar) in the bottle filling it about full. We reviewed the definition of what a liquid was. I then put about 1 tablespoon of solid (baking soda) inside the balloon. Once again reviewing what a solid was. I showed the students how to carefully put the lip of the balloon around the top of the bottle being careful not to get the baking soda in the bottle. Next, I asked the students to predict what was going to happen when I lift the balloon up allowing the solid (baking soda) to fall in the liquid (vinegar?) They wrote their response on their personal whiteboard.

Finally, I poured the solid into the liquid and this caused a gas to form blowing up the balloon. The students were so excited to see the balloon blow up. We then discussed what happened and looked at the predictions to see if they were correct. This activity allowed the students to see first hand when you put a solid and liquid together it makes a gas.

Webmaster note:  Excellent matter demonstrations, Stephanie!  Thanks for telling us about them.

Solid, Liquid, and Gas
From Cynthia in Mississippi
Second Grade Teacher

Objective: Demonstrate a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Compare and contrast.

Solid: Fill a paper cup with water. Mark the level of the water with a magic marker. Place in the freezer overnight. Tear paper off of the ice. Have students watch ice as the day goes by and note their findings. Ice is a solid. It is still water, just in a different state.

Liquid: As the ice melts above explain to students that it is still water. It went from liquid in a cup to a hard shape, taking the shape of the cup. After all the ice melts, pour water back into the cup. Discuss why there is not as much water now, due to some evaporation.

Gas: Can I blow up a balloon without using my mouth?

Place 3/4 cup of white vinegar into an empty plastic bottle (small water bottle works fine). Spoon 2 teaspoons of baking soda into a balloon. Stretch the balloon over the mouth of the bottle keeping the balloon to the side of the bottle. Pull the balloon up straight over the bottle, allowing the baking soda to enter into the vinegar. Step back and watch as the balloon inflates with carbon dioxide.

Discuss that this is a gas that is made by combining the baking soda and vinegar.

Be prepared to do this demonstration more than once, as children want to try this themselves after the teacher demonstrates.

Wrap up: Have students write about their findings. Students also can be divided into 3 groups and given a poster board to write up their findings. This makes an excellent class project.

More advanced classes can get into more detail with this science lesson.

Webmaster note:  All very fun ways to introduct solids, liquids, and gasses.  Thanks, Cynthia!

What's the Matter Activities
From Kathy in Kentucky
4th - 5th Grade Teacher

What Is the "Matter"? When teaching kids about the states of matter it seems that the hardest concept is gases. To teach about gases and give the kids a visual example, I do a 2 in 1 lesson. You get more bang for your buck!

We discuss what happens when you mix certain substances together, ( mixtures), how they can produce gases. We discuss the fact that you can't always see or smell the gas to know it is present. So, I take baking soda and put it in a plastic soda bottle and add vinegar. I have my balloon handy to quickly cover the mouth of the bottle and walla! The balloon begins to expand and the kids can visually see a gas forming and taking up space. This is where you can actually teach 2 concepts at once making the most of your time.

Webmaster note:  Thanks, as always, Kathy!!

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