States of Matter: Hands-On Activities about Liquids

In this part of our States of Matter unit we talked about some of the properties of liquids.

A few days ago, I shared some of activities as we discussed gases. You’ll find that here: States of Matter-Hands-On Activities about Gases. We continued to talk about the structure of matter. Liquids have a definite volume, but no definite shape.

Not only did we talk about some of the characteristics of liquids:

  • they take up space,
  • have weight,
  • flow,
  • change to fit the container and so forth,

but we also went on to explore some of the properties of water such as adhesion, cohesion, surface tension, and things like that.  Once again, the kids loved all of the hands-on experiments and activities! Let me share a few of those with you now!

We had some good discussions about ooblek (cornstarch and water) and debated whether it is a solid or a liquid… Sometimes it seems solid (like when you press your thumb down on it or squeeze it in your fist. Other times it flows like a liquid.

We talked about polymers, those long chains of molecules that cause ooblek to act as it does.  I used the analogy of ooblek having molecules like spaghetti while other liquids have molecules that are more like peas.

Cornstarch: Is it a solid or a liquid?!!

is cornstarch a solid or liquidWe did another activity with shaving cream and a penny:

Is shaving cream a solid or a liquid?

Penny and Shaving cream Activity

We went on to study some of the properties of liquids. (These are in our States of Matter packet.)

properties-of-liquidsWe did a lot of hands-on activities to demonstate each of the properties we discussed:

Demonstrating Adhesion:Water-Adhesion

We took several glass graduated cylinders and filled them with water. The narrowest cylinder showed the most adhesion. We also talked about the meniscus.


Demonstrating Cohesion:

How close can you drag to drops of water before they “jump” together? Why do they “jump” together?

For this activity we used the printout from, covered with wax paper.Properties-of-Water-CohesionMove a large droplet of water around the raceway.Water-Droplet-Cohesion

To demonstrate cohesion, we also printed out the Race Drop Raceway from We placed the paper on cardboard and then covered it with a sheet of wax paper. We taped wax paper to the back of the cardboard to it wouldn’t move.

Watch as the droplet drags behind and then catches up.

This little video demonstrates cohesion better than a still photo!!

 Demonstrating the effect of gravity on water; water pressure increases with depth:

We used a plastics bottle and colored water. We created holes in the plastic bottle by using a hammer and a nail.


Molecule movement is affected by temperature:

We had two small jars. One had ice cold water, the other had boiling hot water. We added one drop of each color dye into the jars and observed. (The cold water was slow to mix. In the hot water the colors mixed together rapidly.)


Graphing Activity, The World’s Waters:

We also did another graphing activity about the world’s waters. (We did a graphing activity about the gases in air as well in this unit.)


From here we went on to talk about the Changes in States of Matter.  I’ll share those activities in the next post!!  I’m also just about ready to share our 45+ page States of Matter Packet. 🙂 It will probably be ready to share later this week!

Coming Soon (Later this week, hopefully!)!!

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

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe to newsletter.

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

See you again soon here or Homeschool Den Facebook page. Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl

Please like & share:

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *