Multimodal States of Matter Activities

You know those science chapters that have the life sucked out of them?  Our textbook is probably the WORST.  Luckily I was free to create my own unit with multimodal states of matter activities. 

Some chapters I can use as  a jumping off point to my instruction, but I really had to start from scratch with this one.  Not only is this is a concept that needs to be hands on instead of read, but recently I've also started using the miracle of YouTube helps bring the scientists right into the classroom.

Multimodal States of Matter Activities

States of Matter ActivitiesDefinition and Examples

After defining three of the states of matter (we don't cover plasma in fourth grade, although I do let them know that solid, liquid and gas are not the only three states in existence).

I add student generated answers (in a think pair share) to our anchor chart for examples of solids, liquids, and gases.

I also like to write a few of their questions for further research.

Kinesthetic States of Matter Activities I like to do some activities from my States of Matter Unit to get them moving around and pretending to be molecules!  One of my favorite states of matter activities is when we pretend to be solid molecules, so we sit close together and hardly move.  As liquids we move around a defined area (the reading rug) and as a gas, I tell them, "Now fly!"  I get lots of laughs, and model flapping my arms and power walking around the whole room.  They follow suit and get the idea!


To keep the definitions and concepts fun, I play Mr. Parr's Four States of Matter Song.  Even though they are more geared toward middle school, they are current and get the kids excited about science class.  
Visual Arts

When we talk about matter changing state, the kids are pretty comfortable with the concept of freezing and boiling water.  However, the idea that glass can be a liquid (or even a gas on the sun) is hard for them to swallow.  Once again, I turn to videos to drive the point home!

The Chrysler Museum of Art has a great video on blowing glass, including the art and science involved in working with liquid glass (also known as molten glass).  The artist reveals the temperature they have to heat the glass to turn it to liquid.  I tell them, "Don't try this at home kids; your oven can't get that hot!"  John Pomp's Studio focuses more about tools used to create glass ornaments, and makes for a nice enrichment video for kids who want to learn more.  

These activities all lead up to learning about density, which leads us to a better understanding of weather later in the year!  Next week I'll tell you more about our density lab reports and tests.

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