Determining the state of matter is
not easy. Many times a substance acts like a liquid, but then sometimes
it acts as a solid. Cornstarch and water is a classic example of
this. If you add the appropriate amount of water to cornstarch it
will act as a solid, but then if you let the solid rest, it will flow.
Matter can also change states of matter depending
on the temperature. Water is an excellent example of how easily you
can go from one state to another, just by increasing or decreasing the
Traditionally we have taught students that
there are 3 states of matter. They assume that this is all there
is. Solids, liquids, and gases are states of matter that are
familiar to us on the surface of the Earth. However, deep in the
Earth or deep in space, conditions are different, allowing other
states of matter to dominate. For instance, plasma is the most common
state of matter in the Universe.
It is important early in a child’s education
to make students understand, that humans define parameters within our world.
But that does not make it absolutely correct in other worlds.
- Discuss with students that
there are 3 states of matter that water takes, liquid, ice, and steam.
In order to change from one state of matter to another energy, heat in
this case, needs to be used. The problem that the students
will explore is how much heat it will take to convert a solid (ice) to
- First discuss with students what takes
on the different forms of water in nature.