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FL5 Teacher Page: States of Matter

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Florida Science Standards

SC.5.P.8.1 Compare and contrast the basic properties of solids, liquids, and gases, such as mass, volume, color, texture, and temperature.

Connecting to Other Standards

This unit will be MUCH easier if your students have already covered SC.5.P.8.4 (atoms). This unit is also a perfect lead-in for the Water Cycle.

Key Concepts:

  • Solids tend to maintain their size (volume) and shape regardless of their container.
  • Liquids tend to maintain their size (volume), but take on the shape of their container.
  • Gases tend to take on the size (volume) and shape of their container. This is because gases are compressible. They can be squeezed into a smaller space or expand into a larger space. Liquids and solids are generally not compressible. Be aware of mixtures, such as foam rubber which looks like a solid, but is actually mostly made up of gas.
  • The mass of a substance does not change from one state of matter to another. One kilogram of ice will produce one kilogram of water when melted. one kilogram of water vapor when it evaporates, and one kilogram of plasma if enough energy is applied.

Misconception Alert:

States of Matter: Be sure to read Teach It Right the First Time before you teach states of matter. This can help you avoid common misconceptions, and keep your students from having to "unlearn" things in later grades.

Covering the Basics:

To give your students a basic understanding of this topic, do the following.

  1. Show your students the Egg States video, or watch the video and then present the material yourself. This will introduce the basic properties of the common states of matter, and prepare them for the fact that a mixture may act like one state when it is actually two or more states mixed.
  2. Add more depth to the topic by using the following:
    • Crushed Can: A dramatic demonstration of what happens when water vapor quickly condenses back into a liquid.

      Click here for materials list

      • several aluminum soft drink cans
      • kitchen tongs or an oven mitt to pick up hot cans
      • a bowl of cold water
      • a hot plate or a hot skillet on the stove
    • Experimenting with Dry Ice: An example of a substance that "skips a step" in changing states directly from solid to gas.

Nature of Science Potential

The Egg States activity is a very good way to reinforce SC.5.N.1.6, showing the difference between opinion and actual evidence. While mixtures such as beaten egg whites may seem solid, careful examination of the evidence shows otherwise.

Fun Facts

  • Water is the only common substance that is found around us as a solid, liquid, and a gas at the same time. Wonderful Water video.

Supporting Standards from Previous Grades

SC.2.P.8.4 Observe and describe water in its solid, liquid, and gaseous states.
SC.2.E.7.3 Investigate, observe and describe how water left in an open container disappears (evaporates), but water in a closed container does not disappear (evaporate).
SC.3.P.9.1 Describe the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling by using familiar scientific terms such as melting, freezing, boiling, evaporation, and condensation.
SC.4.P.8.2 Identify properties and common uses of water in each of its states.

If you need help with science questions, ways to explain or demonstrate concepts, or have a suggestion for an activity, please email me.

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