States of Matter


The lesson introduces students to basic facts and characteristics about solids, liquids and gases.  The lesson does not explore the molecular structure of each, but depending on the level of the class, this may be done.  It is most important that students understand the differences between each state of matter.

States of Matter Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about States of Matter
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on identifying States of Matter
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 1-3 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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The lesson introduces students to basic facts and characteristics about solids, liquids, and gases.  The lesson does not delve into the molecular structure of state, but depending on the level of the class, you could add this to the lesson.  The homework assignment suggested with this lesson gives students an opportunity for real world application, by asking them to find items around their home that are kept in containers, and whether those items are solids, liquids, or gases.  By the end of these activities, students will understand the basic differences between each of the states of matter.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Display a solid, liquid, and gas. Ask students:  What is alike and different between each substance?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce solids, liquids, and gases to the class.
  3. Distribute States of Matter content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  4. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Distribute the samples to each pair of students.  After a few minutes, the items are rotated to another pair of students until all items have been observed and recorded by the entire class.
  5. Once completed, allow pairs of students to share their responses displaying one item at a time until all 12 have been discussed.
  6. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  7. Distribute the Homework page. Explain to students they may write about something inside a container:  Gas inside a propane tank.  The next day, allow students to share items from their list.  Randomly ask students why an object is a solid, liquid, or gas.
  8. In closing, ask:  What is your favorite solid, liquid, or gas and why?
  9. Allow for responses and discussion. Students may pick one or more different states of matter to share.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1.B, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.4,

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.2

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade