Co-op is starting again and I’m really enjoying planning science lessons. I decided to start at the beginning with the creation of matter.
Things you will need:
- Genesis 1:1-10
- a bowl of water, and a plate
- other containers for water, a plate, a jar, etc.
- a balloon
- a second balloon, water to fill it, and a pair of scissors
- a video showing lightning
- optional: a plasma ball.
Read Genesis 1:1-10. This passage teaches us how God created and shaped matter. Matter is different from spirit in that it is measurable. Matter is made up of microscopic particles that behave differently in the different phases. All of the phases have a size, shape, and they take up mass. Spirit does not have size, shape, or mass. Today we will be learning about 4 states of matter. (note: scientists have created a 5th state that we will not be addressing as it’s extremely rare and unlikely to be encountered).
The 4 states of matter are:
Liquid, Gas, Solid, Plasma
Liquid: Liquids have a definite volume and assume the shape of the part of the container they are in. The particles in liquid can move/glide past one another, and they are close together.
Water is a liquid. What do you think of when you think of liquid? Can you hold water in your hand? Go ahead and give it a try. Pour some water on the plate. What happens?
Gas: Gas assumes the shape and volume of its container. Particles in gas can move past one another, and there is lots of space between them. Gas is different from water in that it expands to fill up the container.
Blow up the first balloon. Don’t tie it. Let the air out and feel it, and note the sound it makes as it rushes out. Don’t let go unless you want it to fly around the room (we wanted it to fly around the room).
Fill the balloon again and tie it. The air you put into the balloon is a gas.
If you are using the carbonated beverage open it while observing closely. The sound you here is the gas rushing out of the container to try to fill the room (the pressure between the gas in the room and the gas in the bottle equalizes, so their will still be gas in the bottle).
If using the second balloon fill it with water (blowing it up and letting the air out first helps a bit). Note how the balloon doesn’t expand with the water the way it did with air. Either have some one hold it or tie it. This is because water doesn’t expand to fill its container the way that air does. Take the pair of scissors and carefully cut the tie off the first balloon (don’t pop it). See what happens. If you tied the balloon with water carefully cut the top off of that one and note what happens. Either pour or squeeze the water out of the balloon. Observe the differences in how the balloons empty.
Solid: Solids retain a fixed volume and shape because the particles are locked into place, and close together. We used a bowl and plate for the water. These are solids. The table is also a solid. We also used two balloons; while balloons can be blown up, they still maintain the balloon shape, and they are also examples of solids.
Plasma: Plasmas are hot ionized gases. They are considered a separate form of matter because they have permanently charged particles, and they can conduct electricity, and be contained by a magnetic field. The sun, stars, lightning, and the northern lights are all made of plasma.
Take it further:
- Make balloon animals to really see how gas fills its container and has mass
- Make or buy slime and have your kids use the scientific method to determine what state of matter it is (it should be a liquid).
- Learn about Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment. YouTube has some good resources like this short reenactment. Liberty Kids also did a video about Ben Franklin that includes the experiment.
- Blow up a balloon with the carbon dioxide produced by mixing vinegar and baking soda.
- Blow up one balloon and fill two with water (leaving a bit of room for expansion); freeze one of the ones you filled with water. Compare the balloons, ending with breaking them and analyzing the differences in what happens.
Please note that as you look to go further with learning the states of matter that a lot of the resources out there start out with: “everything is made of matter”. This rejects the existence of all spirit including God, souls etc., and is something to be careful of.