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.)

Check out our 50+ Page Three States of Matter Packet

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

changing-states-of-matter-worksheetsChanging States of Matter worksheets and notebook pages

After finishing this unit, we went straight on to our next unit, the Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter.

In the Properties of Matter Unit we are studied: 

  • Matter: Elements, Compounds, Mixtures
  • Organization of the Periodic Table
  • Molecular vs. Structural Formulas
  • Describing Matter: Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Density Activities – Mass÷Volume
  • Mixtures: Solutions, Colloids and Suspensions

Properties of Matter Worksheets Activities - elements compounds solutions

Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter Worksheets and Activities

Properties of Matter - Lapbook Interactive Notebook Chemistry Review Worksheets

Chemistry BUNDLE purchase these 6 units together

  • Introduction to Chemistry – Size of Atoms Mini-Unit
  • States of Matter Packet
  • Properties of Matter Packet
  • Electricity & Circuits Packet
  • Chemistry Packet
  • pH Scale – Acids and Bases Worksheet Packet

Chemistry BUNDLE of 6


Chemistry BUNDLE of 6See the Chemistry Page for more details and lot more pictures of each packet.

Chemistry BUNDLE of 6 - New UpdateYou can also purchase these packets separately. See the Chemistry Page for more details.

$2.99 Introduction to Chemistry – Size of Atoms Mini-Unit

$5.99 States of Matter Packet (50+pages)

$7.99 Properties of Matter Packet (now close to 100 pages)

$6.99 Electricity & Circuits Packet (30+pages)

$8.99  Chemistry Packet – An introduction to the Periodic Table (150 pages) – Learn how the periodic table is organized and find out more about the different groups of the periodic table (Alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, halogens). Learn what valence electrons are and do some fun activities to create Lewis structures.  Learn about the first twenty elements as well as elements with unusual names. Plus, learn about electron configuration and more!  (We did this primarily in middle school, but did electron configuration in high school again.)

$2.99 pH Scale – Acids and Bases Worksheet Packet (25 pages) – Includes material for younger students (elementary/middle school) and older (high school) students.

$7.99 Ions and Isotopes Chemistry Unit (125 pages) This unit is an introduction to ions (which have fewer or more electrons) and isotopes (which have fewer or more isotopes).  This unit should be done after students have completed the Chemistry Unit. (middle school/high school)

$9.99 Organic Chemistry Unit (100+ pages) Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon-containing molecules. In this unit, we study many of the organic compounds that include carbon and hydrogen (hydrocarbons), carbon-carbon molecules and more! This unit covers hydrocarbons, functional side groups and the four classes of macromolecules: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and nucleic acids. *high school level unit

Click on the link to see more details about each of these units:

Introduction to Chemistry – Size of Atoms Mini-Unit

Intro to Chemistry - Size of an Atom ActivitiesProperties of Matter Unit

Properties of Matter - Elements Compounds Mixtures - viscosity density and more

Electricity & Circuits UnitElectricity Unit

Chemistry Packet: The Periodic TableChemistry Unit The Periodic Table Ions Isotopes Bohr Diagrams and more

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

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

You might also want to check out our Layers of the Atmosphere Packet 

Layers of the Atmosphere Packet - Worksheets Hands-On Activities Notebook Pages Layers of the Atmosphere Printable Activity Earth Systems - Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere Notebook Activity - Earth System Lapbook Pieces Earth's Atmosphere Packet 50+ pagesYou will find this packet and more in our Store!


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 simple machines at a construction site worksheetsSimple Machines Unit - Worksheets Lapbook 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.

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