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
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
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?
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
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