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8th Grade Core
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This activity is designed to help you identify the phases of matter. You will experiment with and record measurements to determine the relationship between the water in all three states of matter and temperature. If you do this successfully, you will witness the actual change of matter from one phase into another phase. Using a thermometer, you can measure the energy added.


  • Ice cubes
  • Glass beaker
  • Thermometer
  • Hot plate
  • Hot pad
  • Watch, clock, or stopwatch with second hand
  • Graph paper

Safety concerns: iconicon Be sure to keep all fire, glassware, electrical, and chemical safety rules. As with all science lab activities, the most important safety rule is to follow all teacher directions.

  • DO NOT allow the thermometer to touch the bottom of the beaker.
  • Protect your hands and eyes from steam from the boiling water.


  1. Fill your beaker about 50% full of ice cubes.
  2. Carefully, place the thermometer into the beaker with ice and take the temperature after one minute.
    • Note: The thermometer should not be allowed to touch the bottom of the beaker. It should be held about center of the beaker from this point until the end of the experiment
  3. Record your measurement
  4. Place the beaker with ice cubes on the hot plate.
  5. Plug-in the hot plate and turn the dial until it is between mid-way and high.
  6. Observe the temperature as the heat energy melts the ice cubes.
  7. Record the time and temperature every minute.
  8. When all the ice is melted, read and record the temperature. Remember, do not let the bottom of the thermometer touch the bottom of the beaker or you will not get a real accurate temperature reading.
  9. Observe as the water continues to heat and when steam just begins to appear.
  10. Continue to observe until you have recorded four minutes of temperature after the water is boiling.
    • Note: Do not allow the beaker to boil dry. Stop heating while some water remains!
  11. Look carefully at your data.
  12. Record your data on the graph paper as a line graph.


Data: Record your results in a table similar to the one below.

Time (minutes)
Observations (e.g. boiling)




Use the data from your experiment to create a line graph. Make sure you record your data accurately so your graph will reflect the actual phase change and temperature relationship for water!



  1. How quickly did the temperature increase after you placed the beaker on the hot plate?
  2. What was the temperature change like after all the ice melted?
  3. How much did the temperature increase after the water began boiling?
  4. If the heat causes the water temperature to rise, what is it doing while the ice is melting or the water is boiling?

Review Science safetey rules here.

Get the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 8th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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