The states or phases of matter are used to classify the kinds of matter that exist. Matter can exist in three states: Wyoming, Utah, and California... just kidding! :)

Really they are: , , and .

Matter is made up of particles. These particles have characteristics specific to each of the individual states of matter. We can see how the particles move, their proximity to each other, and the shapes they can take.
 View the different states of matter through the "magic magnifying glass." Solid Liquid Gas

As the temperature of matter increases, particles move faster because they have more energy. Decreases in temperature cause the particles to move slower. These changes in energy cause the changes of states of matter.

In a solid, particles have less energy, are tightly packed together (more dense) and do not move very much. Solids have a definite shape and volume.

In a liquid, particles have more energy, are less tightly packed (less dense), and can move freely. Liquids have definite volume but no definite shape (instead, they take on the shape of the container).

The particles in a gas have the most energy and are free to move around and so spread out rapidly. Gases do not have a definite shape or volume and expand to fill the entire container. Thus, as the temperature of matter increases, its density decreases (particles get farther apart).

Look closely at the concept map below to see this relationship visually.

Figure this out!

The metal lid on your jar of jam won't open, your mother tells you to run hot water over the lid. Why?

A. Heat lowers the motion of particles which makes the lid contract and be easier to remove.
B. Heat increases the motion of particles in the lid causing it to expand and be easier to remove.
C. The heat will cause the glass to break so you will not have to worry about removing the lid.
Highlight the box below to see the correct answer!
 B

Test your knowledge: Look closely at each of the following photos and determine if they represent a solid, liquid, or gas. Select your answer from the drop down menu. When you finish, check your answer by highlighting the box below.

1. Clouds
2. Juice
3. Ice
 1. gas 2. liquid 3. solid
Highlight the box at the right for the answer.

 Substance State Movement Proximity Shape/Volume ice gas liquid solid very slow little faster very fast tightly packed close together very far apart definite shape/volume water gas liquid solid very slow little faster very fast tightly packed close together very far apart no definite shape; definite volume steam gas liquid solid very slow little faster very fast tightly packed close together very far apart no definite shape or volume

Review science safety rules here.

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