When it comes to understanding the world around us, we need to learn the essential topic of states of matter. Since all physical objects constitute matter, they exist in a one-state or a combination of states. This article consists of all the information needed about the primary states of matter, such as solid, liquid, gas, for kids, which will help them better understand the concepts of science in the future.
What Is Matter?
Matter, by definition, is anything that occupies space and has mass. Examples include every object you see, your body, and even the air you breathe! When you take up any form of matter and divide it to a great extent, you end up with the building blocks of matter – Atoms. Atoms are in turn made up of what are called subatomic particles – Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons.
When two or more atoms combine, they form molecules. Molecules are extremely tiny, but they combine to form matter all around. For example, a water molecule is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom combined (written as H2O). If you take 18 grams of water, it contains 6.02214076×1023 water molecules.
What makes the difference between solid, liquid, and gases is how tightly the substance molecules are packed.
What Are The Different States Of Matter For Kids?
All matter exists in what is called ‘states’ or ‘phases.’ The most common states of matter are solid, liquid and gas. Your table is solid, the water you drink is a liquid, and the air you breathe is gas. There is also the fourth state called plasma, which we do not directly encounter in our daily lives. Here are some solid-liquid-gas kindergarten and elementary school facts about the states of matter:
- Solids have their molecules tightly packed together in such a way that they become rigid. Therefore solids are substances that have definite shapes and other properties such as texture, hardness, and rigidity.
- Ice is a solid form of water. When water freezes below 0°C at 1-atmosphere pressure, it becomes a solid.
- Most materials we use daily are solids such as the table, the floor, rocks, marbles, candies, etc.
- Solids can also be turned into different shapes; modelling clay is one such example.
- Liquids can flow freely as their molecules are a lot more loosely bound compared to solids.
- Liquids can flow and take the shape of the container they are poured into. When you pour water into a cup, it takes the shape of the cup.
- Water, juice, milk, petrol, oils, etc., are examples of liquids.
- Gases are the third state of matter where the molecules have so much distance between them that they flow much easier than liquids and are very light for a given volume.
- Examples of gas include air and gases such as nitrogen, filled in the car tires, and helium that makes balloons float.
- Gases also take the shape of the container they are put in, and unlike liquids, they can be compressed.
- Plasma is the fourth state of matter, similar to a gas in its flow properties but is made out of ‘Ionized gas.’
- Plasmas are generally found in high-temperature regions where the electrons of gases break away, creating Ions.
- Plasma can be found in the sun, lightning, and decorative plasma globes.
Some Other Interesting Facts and Information About The States of Matter for Children
Here are some more interesting facts about the state of matter:
- Matter can change from one state to another when there is a change in temperature or pressure. Ice (which is solid water), for example, is formed at 0°C at 1-atmosphere pressure when water changes to a solid-state (freezing). When water is heated to 100°C at 1-atmosphere pressure, it changes state from liquid and becomes steam, a Gas (boiling).
- Water can also be made to boil at room temperature without heating just by putting it in a vacuum chamber and lowering the pressure!
- Iron is solid at room temperature. It becomes a liquid or melts when it is heated to 1,538°C. It boils and turns into vapour at 2,862°C.
- While plasma is chaotic with ionized gas moving around in a region, there is a fifth state of matter called Beam where the ions inside are harmonious and aligned in one direction. Unlike plasma, beams are non-thermal and do not generate heat.
Solids, Liquids, and Gas are the most common states of matter we encounter on a daily basis. The states of matter of all substances can be changed from one to another by heating or cooling. Share these fun facts and fascinating information about the states of matter and watch your little scientist observe the world around him with a bit more curiosity!