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This month we have been learning about the different states of matter in the Magic School Bus class I teach at our homeschool co-op. I have had a fun time with some of the experiments and projects we’ve been doing. We are learning about solids, liquids and gases and how they relate to each other, as well as how they can change states. Today I want to share some of the fun things we have done. Since I was teaching a big group of 5-7 year olds, I didn’t get the chance to take many pictures, sorry!
First we learned about what the three states of matter are. I put a square of colored tape on the floor and we re-created the three different states. The first time, I had as many kids as we could fit squeeze into the square. Then I asked them if they could move around very much in the square without pushing anyone out. It was funny to watch them try this. This represented a solid and how the molecules are packed tightly together so they do not move making it keep its shape. The second time was to represent a liquid and I had just a few kids (4 or 5) fit into the square. I asked them to move around and they could pretty well. Then the third time I had just one or two kids go into the square to represent a gas. They had lots of space to move around just like a gas can move about and change shape. The kids LOVED this!
Then when they were back in their seats I gave them a printout of the image following showing them what we just did. Along with it I gave them a baggie of cereal. I did Apple Jacks, but any circular cereal would work. They placed the cereal on all of the different molecules, and then they could eat them.
I then talked a little about how they can take up space as well as the fact that they all have weight, including a gas. If you weigh a basketball full of air and then weigh it empty, the weight will be different.
Another weigh to demonstrate this concept is through the homemade fountain experiment.
Cut a small hole in a water bottle and put a straw through it. Cover the openings with clay to seal it and make it air tight. Fill it with water.
Blow up a balloon and put it over the opening of the water bottle. You will want to put the water bottle on a tray to catch the water.
You can demonstrate the states of matter changing states, too. We did this be making butter from cream in a jar. I passed it around the room and the kids shook it.
We also made a balloon inflate on a bottle with baking soda and vinegar. See instructions HERE.
Another really fun way to do this is by making a root beer float. You have a solid and a liquid and when you put them together it makes a bubbly foamy gas on top!
And finally we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss after which I made come cornstarch & water ooblek. You can do this by mixing 1c. cornstarch and 1/2 c. water. It makes a goo that is both solid and liquid. It’s SO much fun to play with!