Explained: States of Matter

Written by Dan

Last updated

The matter is all around us and comes in many different states: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Understanding these states of matter is key to understanding the world around us.

As a teacher, you can help your students better understand weight conditions by using engaging and hands-on activities. Here are some tips on teaching states of value in your classroom.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Teach Evolution and Inheritance In Science here.

The Science National Curriculum

Year 4 students should start to use their knowledge and appreciation of everyday materials to gain an insight into the distinction between solids, liquids, and gases. By conducting observations, they can compare the properties of each state.

Through the national curriculum, children will gain knowledge on how to recognize substances as solids, liquids or gases; comprehend that some materials transform when heated/cooled and can measure this change in degrees Celsius; and may even expand their understanding of evaporation & condensation’s role within the water cycle–coupling it with temperature.

Solid, Liquid, Gas, and Plasma

States of matter refer to the phases of physical substances that exist due to the arrangement and movement of their particles. Solids have their particles closely packed together in an organized structure, thus preventing them from adjusting their positions quickly.

On the other hand, liquids can adapt their shapes to any given container because their particles are arranged loosely and do not keep a fixed form.

Gases stay expanded and disperse widely as their particles are very loosely held together with large spaces between them. Finally, plasmas are composed of free electrons and ionized gases, which can be found naturally in stars or lightning.

Still, it is also created through human activities such as welding or laboratory research. All in all, states of matter explain why we see different characteristics from different materials around us.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Make Science Fun here.


Matter is an essential part of the material world, and it exists in four distinct forms or states: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Solids are materials with a fixed shape and volume, such as rocks, desks, and books.

Liquids can take on the form of their container and easily be poured; typical examples include water, juice, and syrup. Gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide do not take on the form of their container—but instead spread throughout any space they occupy.

Finally, plasmas are created from heated ions which produce light, such as in lightning or a neon sign. We encounter these four distinct states of matter regularly in everyday life – understanding them helps us comprehend the fascinating nature of this magnetic field.


The states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. A solid is characterized by its fixed shape and volume. The molecules in a solid are tightly packed together and have tiny movements. Liquids, however, have some structure but still maintain flexibility in their shape and volume.

The molecules in a liquid can slide past one another quickly, allowing it to take on the body of its container. Finally, gases lack entirely any form or definitive structure; gas molecules move freely at random throughout any given space they fill.

Gases can become compressed in closed containers due to their constant motion and ability to move past each other, meaning they take up whatever space is available regardless of the fixed boundaries it occupies.

How They Change

The states of matter around us constantly change in response to the environment. For example, when heated, a solid such as ice melts into liquid form and turns into water, a process known as melting. When cooled further, the liquid reaches its freezing point and changes back into a solid, in this case, forming ice again.

Water may also vaporize directly from a solid or liquid state by adding significant energy, such as heat. This conversion also works the other way—vapour becomes a liquid at its condensation point without additional power.

In short, this is how the states of matter can change: melting, freezing, vaporization and condensation are processes that affect cases daily and cause changes between the different aggregate states.


Have you ever been curious about what makes the world tick? Learning about the states of matter is a great way to start! Matter, after all, is the foundation for everything in our universe. You can use a few fun experiments to teach kids about the different states of matter – solid, liquid and gas.

Try using an ice cube to represent a stable state; heat it until it turns into liquid water, revealing that solids can become liquids when heated. Or you can grab a balloon and some dry ice to demonstrate how gases can condense into liquids when cooled.

Your kids will be amazed and have a great time learning their science lessons simultaneously!

How To Teach Children About States of Matter

Teaching children about the different states of matter can be an exciting and fun experience for both the student and the teacher. Introducing the concepts of Solids, Liquids and Gases is a great way to lay a foundation for more detailed discussions.

One activity that works well involves providing students with different materials such as rice, water and Styrofoam balls and asking them to determine each item’s state. This hands-on approach allows students to become familiar with each material’s unique properties.

Afterwards, having the student explain why they believe these items belong in their respective categories helps them apply what they’ve learned meaningfully. Teaching children about states of matter can be enjoyable if presented engagingly.

There are three states of matter that we experience every day – solid, liquid, and gas. Each state has properties that help us to identify them. The conditions of matter can also change depending on the temperature.

For example, if you heat a solid, it will melt into a liquid. If you continue to heat the liquid, it will become a gas. Some fun experiments demonstrating these changing states are putting an ice cube in the sun or boiling water on the stove. Have fun exploring with your kids, and see what happens!

Don’t forget to check out our article on Why Geography is So Important? For more quizzes, plans and units of work, visit our TES store.


Do they learn about plasma in Primary School?

No, plasma is not typically taught at the Primary School level. Plasma is a fourth state of matter and is usually introduced in high school or college courses in physics or chemistry. Plasma comprises ions and electrons that have become ionized due to extremely high temperatures. It’s best to wait until your child is in secondary school before teaching them about plasma.

Are the states of matter reversible?

Yes, the states of matter are reversible in most cases, provided that the right conditions are met. For example, when heat is added to a solid, it will melt into liquid form; with enough cooling, this liquid will then re-form into a solid again. The same applies to drinks turned into gas and vice versa. They can learn fun and engagingly by providing kids with simple experiments to demonstrate this.

Can matter exist in two states at once?

Yes, some elements can exist in two states at once. This property is known as “dual state” and usually applies to substances like water, which can exist in liquid and gas forms depending on the temperature and pressure. Explaining this concept to children helps them understand the properties of matter more deeply.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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