Lesson Plan

States of Matter: Solid, Liquid, and Gas


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Big Ideas




In this lesson, students will use observable properties such as mass, shape, size, color, and texture to classify matter as a solid, liquid, or gas. Students will:

  • use observable properties to classify matter as a solid.
  • use observable properties to classify matter as a liquid.
  • use observable properties to classify matter as a gas.
  • compare solids, liquids, and gases.

Essential Questions

Essential questions haven't been entered into the lesson plan.


  • Air: The mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth, which is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases.
  • Property: A quality that something is known by; characteristic.
  • Solid: A form of matter that has a definite shape or form that can be measured in length, width, and height; not like a liquid or gas.
  • Liquid: A form of matter that has no definite shape, flows easily, and is neither a solid or gas.
  • Gas: A form of matter that has no definite shape and is neither a liquid nor a solid; rapidly spreads out when it is warmed and contracts when it is cooled.


160 minutes/4 class periods

Prerequisite Skills


  • one 5" x 7" index card per student, containing pictures of various objects glued on one side of the card
  • song lyrics, “Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?” (see the Web site listed in Related Resources at the end of this lesson)
  • one orange per pair of students
  • one paper towel per pair of students
  • paper bag labeled “Solid” containing a solid (e.g., stuffed animal, ball, or pencil, etc.)
  • paper bag labeled “Liquid” containing a resealable plastic bag with colored water in it
  • paper bag labeled “Gas” containing a resealable plastic bag with air in it
  • one clear plastic cup
  • one small clear square or rectangular container to pour water into
  • one balloon
  • clear shoebox-shaped container, 2/3 filled with water
  • one helium balloon (optional)
  • two balloons
  • one wire hanger
  • two 4" pieces of string
  • pencil
  • straight pin
  • one half sheet of paper
  • one clear plastic cup per small group
  • four or five raisins per small group
  • a tray or heavy paper plate per small group, to set the cup and raisins on
  • copies of Dancing Raisins Data Sheet (S-3-6-2_Dancing Raisins Data Sheet and KEY.doc), one per student
  • four to six cans of Sprite or 7Up
  • Air Is All Around You by Franklyn Branley. Collins, 2006.
  • three pieces of yarn or tape to make three 3'-wide circles/ovals on the floor
  • 22 small paper plates
  • one set of three small index cards labeled Solid, Liquid, or Gas (one word per card), one set per student pair
  • Matter, Matter Everywhere! chart with sticky notes from Lesson 1
  • three sheets of chart paper labeled Solids, Liquids, and Gases (one word per sheet of chart paper) per student
  • one sticky note per student
  • States of Matter worksheet (S-3-6-2_States of Matter Worksheet and KEY.doc), one per student

Related Unit and Lesson Plans

Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • Classroom-created verses for the song, “Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?”


  • What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and Paul Meiser. Collins, 1998.
  • Physics: Why Matter Matters! by Simon Basher and Dan Green. Kingfisher, 2008.

Formative Assessment


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