Lesson Plan

The States of Matter

Learn about solid, liquid, gas, and plasma
Sean A.
Technology coordinator
District 75 Central
New York, United States
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Math, Science

Students will be able to...

  • Identify the four major states of matter

  • Determine and demonstrate whether an example of matter is a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma.

  • List characteristics of the volume, shape, and molecular distribution of each state.

Grades 2 – 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introduction

Introduce students to the concept of matter by defining matter for the students (i.e. everything that takes up space/everything you see)

Then show the states of matter by displaying the names of the 4 states of matter (solid, liquid, plasma, gas). You may wish to include an initial image with each one. Have students name other objects and determine which list it should belong to.  Lesson displays & images for these can be found on Nearpod (for those with tablets) and SMART Exchange (for those with an interactive whiteboard).

for beginner students use BrainPOP, Jr.

for advanced students use BrainPOP

Pause to ask question during appropriate moments.

P.S. You may include a other states of matter (i.e. Bose-Einstein condensates, colloids, or other non-classical, low-temperature, or high-energy states) if you feel your class is ready, but it isn't  discussed in the above resources. You can find more information at Chem4Kids.

2 Kinetic Matter

Free, Paid

Display images of the molecular distribution of matter which can be found on Chem4Kids or Wikipedia.  You can then explain about the way the molecules for each state differ.

  • Solids-closely packed and organized molecules/atoms with a stable, definite shape and volume
  • Liquids-incompressible fluid but touching molecules/atoms with a constant volume, but a shape defined by  its container
  • Gas-compressible fluid and fast-moving molecules/atoms with will both conform to the shape of its container and also expand to fill the container
  • Plasma-no definite shape or volume, like gas, but they are electrically conductive

Now your students will move/dance to demonstrate their understanding of these concepts. (You may have to move furniture or have them demonstrate individually). To model solids, students huddle close and link arms together. They can walk in place, but they must keep the whole shape. To model liquids, students can hold hands  and walk or dance slowly around the room. To model gases, have students move or dance more quickly (but safely) around the room without touching.  Music can make this more fun. After they have finished, have them sit and discuss their observations.

3 Group/Individual Work

Students will participate in the Matter Sorter Game to assess their understanding. It may require demonstration in front of the class first.

A simplified version could be this BrainPOP Jr. worksheet which could be done on paper on on an interactive whiteboard.

Alternately students could work together on a related interactive table activity activity.


4 Review

Free to try, Paid

Bring the class back to as a whole group and discuss any surprises from the game.

Have students take the appropriate exam (beginner/advanced) and record their scores using MyBrainPOP.

For additional review students can watch Flocabulary's videos.