Are you working on chemistry this year? I thought I’d share some of the activities we did when we learned about the States of Matter. I also link to a number of other posts from our chemistry unit.
We’ve been having a blast with chemistry — well not literally, but sure have been learning a lot! Today we did most of the hands on activities suggested by the wonderful, wonderful (free!) resource on the States of Matter Teacher’s Guide by Molecularium.
We started out the lesson asking, what scientists do. ED surprised me with her eloquent answer. We went on to talk about how scientists observe and classify. Right on cue our cat came over and started antics with the water I had brought in for our activities. She drank the water (rather noisily) then stuck her paw in, licked her paw, dashed it in again… “See,” I laughed, “we’re scientists observing the strange behavior of cats!!” We all laughed and then returned to the topic at hand.
States of Matter: To add an air of mystery to our day’s activities I hid the three bags and brought them out one at a time. For each bag I had the kids describe the shape, hardness, and weight. Then I asked them if each takes of space.
When we talked about the water, I had them describe the shape and they pretty quickly pointed out that the shape changes depending on what is holding the water.
I asked the kids, “Does air take up space?” “No!” They all agreed. “Ahh… so let’s test that theory,” I said. I brought out a ziploc bag with a straw protruding from it that I had sealed with duct tape. I set it on the table and set a heavy book on it. “Let’s see if gas takes up space.” We talked briefly about what is in air (the gases nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide) and then the kids took turns blowing into the bag — raising the books and showing that gas (air) really does take up space even if it is invisible!
We did another activity to show that air takes up space. We crumpled up paper (or a kleenex) and pushed it into the end of a test tube. Then the kids held the test tubes upright and pushed them straight down into the water. They discovered that the paper (tissue) didn’t get wet. “Oh I get it,” LD said, “the air protected it and kept the water away.”
We also spent quite a bit of time waving our hands in the air and noticing the air rushing over our arms.
We then talked about how atoms move differently in solids, liquids and gases. I had the kids gather their test tubes and pulled out a tin of marbles. I asked the kids to put as many marbles into a test tube as they could. They then put the lids on and observed. They noticed how the marbles made a pattern and didn’t move very much. This is similar to the atoms in a solid — packed tight together and impenetrable. Next they put six marbles into another test tube. I asked them to look at how the marbles could move around a bit. “Does it look like they’re flowing around the container?” I asked. This is like the atoms in a liquid. Finally, they put just three marbles in the last test tube and I challenged them to move the marbles as far away from one another as they could. This final test tube was like air.
We looked at the pictures of atoms in various states:
We then started on our States of Matter foldable. We are keeping a science notebook this year and created this booklet to show and explain the differences between solids, liquids and gases: I let the kids copy the information but we had spent a long time discussing these earlier:
Foldables are really easy to create. If you want to learn more this Reading and Study Skills pdf about Foldables by Dinah Zike is terrific and will give you lots of ideas. Here’s another great resource for making and using foldables in mathematics (though you can use these for any subject). Finally here’s one more quick resource, “How to Fold Foldables.” Finally, homeschool share has a wonderful page of lapbook templates (another name for foldables) if you want to print things out.
As for our foldable, I folded the kids’ paper into three. Then I drew two straight lines and cut the flaps on the outsides.
This kind of work really appeals to DD. LD will do it, but isn’t as thrilled.
ED participated in most of the activities above except for the writing. She went off to do her own thing. A little later in the day I asked if she wanted to do some science sorting cards. She and DD both took turns sorting out the solid, liquid and gas cards that I’ve had for some time. I’m grateful to Leanne over at Montessori Tidbits for these free Montessori cards on the three states of matter.
The best thing about all this is that ED and I had quite a long conversation about the different states of matter at bed time. We talked again for quite a while about different liquids like maple syrup and oil.
States of Matter Packet: We covered this topic again when my youngest was ready to cover this. 🙂 I made a packet that covers this material which covers the three states of matter – solids, liquids and gases (but not plasma!). It also covers the changing states of matter and includes explanations about the hands-on activities we did as we covered these topics. We spent quite a bit of time talking about and doing activities related to sublimation and deposition (but of course we also touched on freezing, melting, evaporation, and condensation). 🙂 Find out more about this packet here: States of Matter, Changing States of Matter Packet or you can purchase it with the link below.
The cost of the Three States of Matter Packet is $4.99.
Once you pay for this packet, you will immediately receive a link to download this file (which will open in a browser window). You will also receive an email to your PayPal email address from Sendowl (the service I use), which will have a link you can click on to download the States of Matter unit. (It will go to the Paypal address you provided and will say, “You can download your digital products…” with a clickable link. It may take a few moments to arrive.) Of course, if you have any issues you can reach me by using the contact form or just email me at — liesl at homeschoolden dot com. You can also reach me by replying to the email from SendOwl.
I am excited to share our new chemistry unit with you! As you know, we love hands-on activities and I want to show you some of the fun ways we explored the periodic table and touched on topics like valence electrons, Bohr Diagrams, Lewis Diagrams (electron dot diagrams), ions, isotopes, and more!
Some of the topics we explored included:
- Building the Periodic Table
- Bohr Diagrams & Understanding Valence Electrons
- Periods, Groups & Families
- hydrogen & the alkali metals, alkaline Earth metals, halogens, noble gases
- Atomic Number, Atomic Mass & Chemical Symbols
- Lewis Diagrams
- Metals, Metalloids and Nonmetals
- Unusual Element Symbols
- Trends of the Periodic Table
- Electron Configuration
We did this unit together when the kids were 10, 12 and 14. I think this unit is best for middle school and up (perhaps as a supplement to for high schoolers being introduced to chemistry for the first time).
You may be interested in some of our other chemistry posts:
- Chemistry Experiments for Kids (Grade 2) – Matter is neither created nor destroyed, Acids and Bases Experiment This includes a FREE printable packet.
- Oil and Water Fireworks Activity
- Molecules to the Max Chemistry DVD – IMAX movie now available on DVD
You might also be interested in these posts from our chemistry unit:
- The Size of Atoms
- States of Matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas Activities
- Molecule Movement Activity – Chemistry Review Worksheet
- Chemistry Experiments for Kids (Grade 2) – Mixtures, Chromatography, DNA Kit (Free Packet of Experiments)
- You might also like this post: 20 Science Activities for Early Elementary
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