States of Matter: Hands-On Activities about Gases

We started our chemistry unit this year with a study of the States of Matter – Solids, Liquids and Gases. Today, I’m going to share four hands-on activities we did about air.

We started the unit with a discussion of the states of matter: solids, liquids and gases.

The kids had to brainstorm as many examples as they could in two minutes. Then they shared their examples.  I then asked them to count how many they had listed – and challenged them to beat their previous number!  I set the timer again for two minutes and they wrote furiously!!  We used the printable from our States of Matter packet for this activity. Then they filled out the notebook page with pictures of various solids, liquids and gases.

Several years ago, the kids made interactive-notebook pages about the 3 States of Matter

States-of-Matter-Interactive-Notebook-PageThis year, they made notebook pages (both options are included in the States of Matter packet):

States-of-Matter-Solid-Liquid-Gas-Notebook-PageWe reviewed the characteristics of the three states (we only briefly mentioned plasma, the fourth state, though my oldest went on to read up about it online!). Each day, the kids had to sort the characteristics into the correct groups (from our States of Matter Packet):

Three-States-of-Matter-characteristicsAnd now to some of the activities we did about Gases:

I asked the kids if air has weight or if air takes up space. They weren’t sure, so we did a couple of activities that gas, indeed, has weight and takes up space.

 Hands-On Activity: Air has weight.States-of-Matter-Gas-Activity-WeightHands-On Activity: Air takes up space.

Take a ziploc bag. Seal it most of the way with a straw on one end. Place a couple of books on the bag. Have your student force air into the bag through the straw demonstrating that air takes up space!

States-of-Matter-Gas-ActivitiesWhat is in our air? Graphing Activity

In this activity, we talked about the composition of our air. I asked the kids what gases they thought made up most of our air, they tossed out oxygen, carbon-dioxide and hydrogen. Then we talked about the actual composition of air which surprised them!

I went over how to make a bar graph and a pie graph (using markers as an example)Bar-Graph-ExampleAnd then I gave them the “What is in our air? handout and had them create graphs demonstrating the actual composition of air:


So, that’s about it for today.  Next time I will share some of the activities we did as we learned about some of the characteristics of liquids (adhesion, cohesion, surface tension, etc.)

Over the summer I created a States of Matter Packet.  I am not quite ready to share it (maybe in another couple of weeks maybe?), but wanted to share some of our fun hands-on activities in the meantime!

Coming Soon! 45+ Page Three States of Matter Packet

States-of-Matter-Solid Liquid Gas Worksheets and Activities

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Other chemistry posts that may be of interest:

Don’t miss our FREE chemistry packet from last year:




BuildingMoleculesYou might also be interested in our Simple Machine Packet. This was another unit with tons of fun, hands-on science activities!!
Simple Machines Packet

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