Changes in States of Matter: Sublimation and Deposition Activities with Dry Ice!

Sublimation and Deposition Activities – Making Chemistry Fun!

This fall we’ve been studying the states of matter and changes of matter.  Today I’m going to share some of our activities as we talked about the changes in states of matter from solid to gas–sublimation and from gas to solid–deposition.  It was a day of Dry Ice FUN!! 🙂

While most kids know freezing, melting and evaporation sublimation and deposition are a bit more challenging, that is – until you bring in a huge chunk of dry ice!!

Warning: Always wear gloves when handling dry ice! it is MINUS 109 deg F. That’s cold enough to give you frost bite!

You’ll need a hammer to break the ice into smaller chunks.

I purchased a block of dry ice from the grocery story. It’s held in a separate freezer, so just ask at your local supermarket. Most chains carry it. I brought a small ice chest to put it in.

I set up our work area outside. These activities worked really well because it was a warm humid day.dry-ice-toilet

I wanted to start off with excitement… and had the kids working quietly in the homeschool room.  I then tossed a chunk of dry ice in the toilet.  I holler out, “Everyone, come quick!! What’s going on…”  Then when they were all peering into the toilet bowl, I said… “Whoa… I think it’s sublimation!! Sublimation everyone! Sublimation.”  My son was quick to explain to the others “It’s dry ice!!”

So… my picture didn’t turn out very well, but you get the idea!!

Then we went outside where I had everything set up.

changes-in-states-of-matterAt first I just let the kids observe dry ice.  They could easily see sublimation taking place… the dry ice becoming gaseous.


Next, the kids poured water into the bowl with the dry ice.  That definitely led to a lot of “Wows” and “Ohhs and Ahhs!”

dry-ice-activities-sublimation-change-states-of-matterI handed the kids each a coin and had them try to make it vibrate. (If you place the coin upright it will often move back and forth as pocket of carbon dioxide move past.)

They noticed that the coins then had frost accumulate on top; this is deposition.  Solids form on the coin as the humid air is cooled.  The coin was soon covered in frost!

depositionWe added chips of dry ice to a water bottle and then added some warm water.  We placed a balloon on the top of the bottle. The balloon inflated as carbon dioxide was released.  We got distract by other things and were all pretty surprised when the balloon popped!!

dry-ice-and-balloonWe also added dish soap to water and added dry ice to watch the water froth and foam. Then we took a towel with the bubble solution and created a giant bubble!


Our last activity was to add some dry ice to apple juice.  The kids wanted to know why we were doing that. They wondered it was just to watch the apple juice bubbling.  I had them wait (and wait) and teased them  by saying, “okay, now watch” as the last bit of dry ice melted.  “What?! That’s IT?!” they asked, outraged.  “Yup,” I said and took a sip.  When their dry ice finally melted, they were caught completely by surprise that it was carbonated!!


The next day, we talked more about the changes in states of matter and did a couple of activities for our notebook pages. These are included in our States of Matter Packet. 🙂

changing-states-of-matter-worksheetsHere is our States of Matter Packet!  It is now over 50 pages!


You might also be interested in the other posts from this unit:


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:

Chemistry Packet: Introduction to the Periodic Table

Chemistry Unit - Worksheets Chemistry Cards Interactive Notebook Piece - Periodic Table Valence Electrons and More

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).

Click here to see more details about our Chemistry Packet:

Chemistry Packet


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

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