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States of Matter and Phase Changes

States of matter is a topic that is covered in middle school, and reviewed again in high school chemistry with more depth. I’ve compiled some resources to help you teach this concept! Take a peek!


1. I created this powerpoint when I taught phase changes to my 8th and 9th graders. It is editable and can be adapted for higher or lower grades. It also includes a foldable!

2. This PHET simulation goes over the basics of phase changes and students can visually see what happens to the atoms as you heat them up and cool them down.
3. I read the book series “Stop Faking It” when I was in my first few years of teaching. In the air, water, and weather book he talks about how students can act like air particles when teaching high and low pressure. This also works great for teaching students about properties of solids, liquids, and gases. For solids, have students huddle up close and vibrate. Then yell out “liquid!” and have students spread out more and shake their arms and legs a little more. Then yell out “gas!” and have students run like crazy around the room waving their arms in the air. I know it sounds silly, and I thought students would hate it… but they!


4. I love card sorts! They are a quick and easy way to review new content. HERE is a quick card sort activity on the states of matter.


5. This PHET interactive (similar to the one listed above) reviews states of matter and includes phase change diagrams. Great for high school students!

6. American Association of Chemistry Teachers has a simulation and quiz students can work through that can be found here.
7. This NOVA interactive website allows students to see particle movement in water, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. It also requires flash, so make sure to check the link before using with students.
8. When I taught 9th grade physical science we reviewed states of matter and looked at phase change graphs. Typically teachers have students boil water and graph the temperature change, but I wasn’t comfortable getting out hot plates with my squirrely freshman. So instead of dealing with hot plates I had students turn water into ice (without using a freezer!) and graph the temperature change. Check out this video to see the basics of how this lab works:

If you are interested in downloading this lab, you can find it here.


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Hi, I'm Becca!

I help busy science teachers get your prep back by providing you time saving lessons, labs, and resources.

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