Solids, Liquids, and Gases STEM


In this lesson, students will determine the difference between the three states of matter and learn about their physical properties. With hands-on experiments and a little bit of homework, they will be experts in no time!

The Solids, Liquids, and Gases STEM lesson plan teaches students what matter is and where to find it. Students will distinguish between the three main states and describe their physical properties. They will also get to experiment at home for one of the activities. This is a great way to get students excited about science and watch their progress along the way.

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What our Solids, Liquids, and Gases STEM lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Solids, Liquids, and Gases STEM teaches students the differences between these three states of matter. Students will learn to define what matter is and where to find it. They will also discover how to distinguish each state based on its defining characteristics and describe those properties and traits. This lesson is for students in 5th grade and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The only supplies you will need to provide are writing utensils.

Options for Lesson

In the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page, you will find a few ideas for additional ideas or activities to add to the lesson plan. One idea is to take advantage of the many online learning games that students could play to reinforce the lesson concepts. There is a link to one website in particular, but you can find many others. The goal is to find games about solids, liquids, and gases or games about physical science in general. You can also check out the Learn Bright videos and lesson plans that relate to the topic.

Teacher Notes

The paragraph on this page gives you a little more information on the lesson overall and describes what you may want to focus your teaching on. It reminds you that students may not be familiar with the molecular structure and properties of matter even if they can identify solids, liquids, and gases. The blank lines are available for you to write out any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.


Properties of Matter

The Solids, Liquids, and Gases STEM lesson plan contains two content pages. It introduces the concept of matter by talking about soda. Most people don’t think much about drinking an ice cold glass of soda. Scientists, however, think about the taste, color, or smell, and they consider the chemicals behind what makes soda taste or look as it does. For instance, why does soda lose its fizz if it is left out in the open air for a while?

Science uses the phrase properties of matter to describe any measurable characteristic. An object’s density, color, mass, volume, length, melting point, odor, and so many more things are all properties of matter. Properties describe the characteristics of something, of matter. But what is matter?

Matter is anything with mass and volume and that takes up space. Everything in the universe is made up of matter. Properties are merely the physical descriptions of matter. Earth’s most common states of matter are solids, liquids, and gases. Each state has a different molecular structure that differentiates it from one another. At this point, the lesson refers back to the soda example and asks students to describe what they see and write it on the blank lines.

Solids, Liquids, and Gases

In the case of the glass of soda, the soda is liquid. The ice cubes that float in the soda are solid. And there are also tiny bubbles forming on top of the glass, and these are gases. Recently, scientists identified seven states of matter in the universe. But the most common on Earth are solids, liquids, and gases.

Going back to matter, we know that matter is made of from super tiny atoms and molecules. When atoms attract each other, they form molecules, such as two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom that bond to make a molecule of water. Obviously, water is a liquid. But what makes a liquid and not a solid or gas? The answer is that the molecular structure of a liquid differs from that of a solid and that of a gas.

What we can’t see is that the molecules are in motion regardless of whether something is solid, liquid, or gas. In other words, the molecules of a liquid are attracted to each other but not necessarily bonded tightly. This allows them to move around. In a solid, the particles touch and are tightly bonded together. In liquids, the particles touch but slide away from each other. And with gases, the particles touch but are loosely bonded.

Summary Chart

With the soda example, the ice is solid, the soda is liquid, and the bubbles are gas. The chart at the bottom of the second content page lists the properties of each state of matter. Students can easily refer to this chart as a reminder of what differentiates one state from another.

  • The particles of a solid bond together tightly. Solids have a definite shape and definite volume. In addition, the particles vibrate around fixed axes.
  • Liquids take the shape of the container that holds it. Their particles are attracted to each other but not as tightly bonded as with solids. The particles are also free to move over each other. Liquids also have a definite volume, but not a definite shape.
  • Gas particles are loosely bonded and move in random motion with little or no attraction to each other. There is no definite volume with a gas and no definite shape. They will, however, fill the form of the container they are in.


The Solids, Liquids, and Gases STEM lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.


For this experiment, students will need a bottle of soda, balloons, paper towels, and a mason jar. First, they will stretch out the opening of the balloon a few times and place the bottle of soda on a level surface. (They will put a few paper towels under the bottle to help with the mess that will come later.) The next two steps need to happen quickly in succession. Students will open the bottle and place the balloon over the bottle’s neck and opening. Immediately afterward, they will lightly shake the bottle.

Students will observe the balloon and bottle every five minutes or so until they notice that the balloon expanded. They will respond to the prompt in step 5. After the balloon expands, students will carefully fill the balloon with the soda by turning the bottle upside down. They should NOT overfill the balloon. After tying the balloon tightly and placing it on a plate, they will put the plate in the freezer.

After 24 hours, students will observe what state of matter the balloon is in. They will allow the balloon to thaw back into a liquid state at room temperature. Then they will cut one of the balloons ends and allow the liquid to pour into the mason jar. After placing the lid on the jar, they will shake the jar a few times and write what they observe.


Students will get to conduct an experiment that proves molecules they cannot see attract and bond to each other. You will need to supply two small plastic cups, water, and an eyedropper per students.

First, students will fill the cups to the top with water, ensuring the cups are on a level surface. They will fill the eyedropper with water from one of the cups and hold it as close as they can to the surface of the water in the second cup. Then they will gently release a drop at a time, allowing each drop to settle before releasing the next drop.

The worksheet provides a table at the bottom of the page with questions for students to answer regarding what they observed. Students will recognize how the water, because it bonds strongly, will hold itself above the rim of a full cup.


The homework assignment provides students the opportunity to create a cloud inside a jar. At the top of the worksheet is a paragraph that explains how clouds form. First, students will carefully heat some water in a container until it comes to a boil. Then they will add blue food coloring and mix it in well. They will pour 8oz of the water into a Mason jar.

Students must perform the next step quickly, so they may need a partner to help them. They will spray hairspray into the jar for about five seconds and then tightly seal the jar with the lid. On top of the jar, they will place a couple of ice cubes. Within a few seconds, cloud formations should start to appear above the blue water.

Students will then remove the lid after a little while longer and let the cloud float into the air. Finally, they will write a brief report of their observations and do some research further how clouds form.

Worksheet Answer Keys

The lesson plan document includes answer keys for both the practice and homework worksheets. The correct responses are in red to make it easy to compare them to students’ work. There may be some variation in students’ responses because the prompts are objective. However, the answer keys will provide a good guideline to follow. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


5th Grade, 6th Grade


Science, STEM, Video

State Educational Standards


sons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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States of matter

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Excellent Resource

I am a new teacher so I try to keep my eye out for any resources that might help me build my own lesson plans. I did not have to make any adjustment to this lesson plan because it was complete with very detailed instructions. I would highly recommend this for anyone looking for a lesson plan on this subject.