States of the Matter Script

Ah, I found the scientists! I’m going to peek in on their laboratory today to watch them do experiments on the states of matter.

Would you like to join me?


Let’s try that again … Would YOU like to join me?

[pause for audience to shout YES!]


Now, before we get started, we probably need to make sure we all know what matter is.

Take this basketball. Does it weigh anything? Sure … I’d say a pound or so. Does it take up space? Yep!


So then matter is anything that has mass, or weight, and takes up space.

Matter, matter, matter, matter, matter, matter – ok, you get the point.

Now that we have a good idea what matter is, let’s see what we can learn about the different states of matter. Time for EXPERIMENT #1. Get your thinking caps on!


First, what do you see in the beaker?


Does it have a color? {pause for audience response}, not really … maybe a little white.

Do you think it’s orange juice? {pause for audience response}

{laughs} No … because it would have an orange color.

Does it have a shape?

Yes. It has a definite shape.  What if they move it to another container, will the shape change? (Scientist put ice into a pot)

Nope … the shape remains the same.

Now, based on your observations, what do you think is in the beaker? [pause for audience answer] Ice! Right!

And, ice is “solid” what? {pause for answer} It’s solid water. You’ve just learned about the first state of matter: Solids! Solids keep their shape no matter what container they are in.

Now, in its natural state, water is a liquid. Liquid is another state of matter. So, how could you turn this solid ice into liquid water and change its state of matter? Any ideas??

Think about this … what happens when there is snow on the ground and the sun comes out? The snow melts. It turns from ice to water because the sun heats up the snow.

So, what will happen when they add heat to this solid ice? Time for EXPERIMENT #2.

What’s happening to the ice?

It’s melting!  

Right before our eyes!  How cool!

So, what can we observe about the melted ice? Is it wet?

Does it have a shape?

Yes, it’s the shape of the pot!

So, if they move it to another container like a beaker, would the shape change?

Yes!  The matter becomes the shape of its container. Interesting!

Do you think it smells?   Ewww, I hope not!


So, when they added heat to the ice, it changed its state of matter from a solid to a liquid and we saw that LIQUIDS assume the shape of the container they are in.  Liquids also flow easily, moving from one space to the next.

Now what if they keep heating the water on the stove?


{pause to view water turning from liquid to gas}

What’s with the bubbles and steam? … It means the water is boiling!

So, when they added more heat to liquid, it started to boil. Now it’s creating another state of matter. It’s gas! The steam and bubbles that you observe are water changing its state from liquid to gas. This is called vaporization.  This gas is also called water vapor.

As you see the bubbles, you are seeing a change in the state of matter right before your eyes

So, we’ve seen these scientists change water from a Solid to Liquid to Gas by adding heat to it.

And you could do the whole thing in any order – you can make a solid a gas, a liquid a solid – it doesn’t matter!  How cool is that?

Let’s go outside for this next experiment.

See that glass of water?  It’s got a solid and a liquid in it!

What else do you observe about this glass of ice water?

What do you think it feels like when you touch it? Cold … probably. It also looks wet on the outside of the glass. What’s that all about?]

Well, there is water in the air that is already in a gas form called water vapor. On a hot day, when water vapor, or gas, touches a cold glass of ice water, heat is removed and the gas cools down and changes back to a liquid. This process is called condensation.  When you feel water on the outside of your glass, it is simply water vapor, or gas, that has changed its state of matter to a liquid. Pretty cool! No pun intended.

Now, let’s head back inside to see a REALLY COOL experiment!

Ah, what’s that?

It’s gold!

Argh, matey!

What do you observe about this gold?

What color is it? Shiny, yellow, GOLD.

Does this gold have a definite shape? Yes, it does.  You can feel the gold in your hand so it has mass.

Based on those observations, is this gold in a solid, liquid or gas state?

SOLID! Great work, scientists!

Through our observations, we know that this gold is a solid state of matter. Do you think they could change the state of matter to a liquid or gas? Time for our final experiment!

When heat was added to ice, it turned from solid to liquid to gas.   And just like ice, you can melt gold!

It’s a little risky for these scientists so we’re going to observe a blacksmith melting gold to see what happens. For him to change the state of solid gold, it has to be heated to 1064 degrees Celsius.   That’s hot!

[watch solid gold melt to liquid gold]

Whoa! Liquid gold. We just watched solid gold at room temperature be heated and change its state of matter from a solid to a liquid. If we heated the liquid gold enough, to over 2900 degrees Celsius, it would evaporate and change its state from a liquid to a gas. But, for the sake of this experiment, we will not vaporize gold. {laughs} Now back to the lab!

Great job today, scientists!  We couldn’t end our day of science without a pop-quiz. Right?! Let’s put your knowledge to the test.

(Show picture of block of ice.)  

Name this state.

{pause for answer}

Solid. Yes! How do you know it’s a solid? Because it has a definite shape and size.

(Show a picture of liquid gold)

Name this state. {pause for answer} Liquid. Good job!

How about a true/false? Liquids have a definite shape.

{pause for answer} False, liquids take on the shape of the container they are in.

(Show picture of steam.)

Name this state. {pause for answer} Gas. What’s its shape? {pause for answer} It can be anything!  Gases spread out and fill up the container they’re in!

Final question: What did they use to change the state of matter for water and gold? {pause for answer} Heat! When we added heat to ice, it changed from a solid to a liquid and, when we added more heat, it changed from a liquid to a gas.

Wow! What a great day in the lab. Thanks for joining us and for being such excellent scientists. Isn’t it fun to put your brain to good use?! Until next time … see you later!