Objective: Students will try to identify the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. They will learn that water is the only substance in the world that exists naturally in each form.

Materials: solids, liquids, gas charts, ice cube, glass of water, steaming water in a cup, colored items sheet - copied

Background: Water is found throughout our planet in one of three forms: solid, liquid, or gas. Water in the solid form is either an ice or crystal formation. Water in liquid form is found in river, lakes, streams, aquifers, and oceans. Water in a gaseous state is usually suspended in the air and invisible to the eye, most of the time. We usually identify the vapor as steam.

In its pure form, water is a good solvent, meaning it can be dissolved or mix with many substances. It is found everywhere and covers three-quarters of the planet. Water makes up 75% of the human body. The total amount of water on earth stays the same, and the same water that exists now has always existed.

Make one copy for each student of the solids, liquid, gas chart. Photo copy the colored item sheet and pass this out with the chart.

Show students the ice cube, the steaming water in the cup and the glass of water. Identify which state of matter the water is in. Review with them that water is the only substance on earth that occurs naturally in all three states of matter.

Students will try to identify what state of matter each picture from the colored items sheet is in. Please note that some items can be placed in more than one category (ex: the lemonade picture shows solids - the ice cube, glass and straw and liquid - the lemonade).

After students have completed their lists have a class discussion about their choices. Have the class brainstorm about some of the more interesting answers to determine whether there are more possibilities that each student could add to their lists based on the other student's observations.

Divide a poster board into three sections with a broad-tipped marker and label each section as solid, liquid, or gas. From old magazine, have students cut out pictures of water in each of these states and glue them to the poster board.

It has been proposed that icebergs in the Antarctic be towed to desert countries for use as drinking water. You can now buy bottled water from melted glacial ice in European countries. Discuss with the students the use of glaciers or icebergs as sources of water. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of doing this?

Vocabulary Glossary:
Gas: A state of matter; a gas always has the same shape as the container it fills
Liquid: A state of matter; a liquid always has the same shape as its container
Solid: A state of matter; a solid generally has a shape of its own
Grade Level:

Subject Areas:

SD Standards for 4th grade:
4.P.1.1; 4.P.1.2; 4.P.1.3


Creative Thinking, Deduction

Prior Preparation: Make a list on the chalkboard of the reasons why water is important. Give a brief explanation of the hydrologic cycle and explain that water comes in three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. Give students an opportunity to discuss what interests them most about water (such as swimming in it, fishing in it, skiing on it, etc.). After each interest is expressed, have class decide which form of water that interest demonstrates.

gas, liquid, solid
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