Matter is… Everything we see around us: GlassMetal Plastic BonesBreath
Matter can be sorted into three groups: Solid - Like a brick Liquid - Like water gas- Like air
A solid doesnt take the shape of a flask So when you put a ball into a flask it doesnt fill it up or take the shape of the flask - it just stays as a ball in the flask
However a liquid does take the shape of a flask but doesnt fill it up So if we put the same liquid into different containers the liquid changes to be the same shape as the inside of the container but it doesnt fill it right up
A gas takes the shape of a flask and fills it up completely The same is true for air in a room – air will expand to completely fill a room, so we can breath everywhere. If it didnt we would only be able to breath in certain places in the room where there was air, and we would have to hold our breath in other parts where there wasnt any air.
If we heat most solids we can turn them into liquids For example if we heat a beaker of ice (solid) it turns into a beaker of water (liquid)
If we heat most liquids we can turn them into gasses For example boiling Water turns into Steam
Also, if we cool most liquids they become solids For example if its cold enough rain will turn into snow
And if we cool most gasses they become liquids Power stations release hot steam which is cooled by cooling towers and forms rain clouds which return the water back to earth when it rains
Gasses are very compressible but liquids and solids are not: For example you can squash a balloon full of gas with your fingers and change its shape easily, but you cannot squash a solid ball easily.
Some solids are very elastic and extendable (stretchy) For example we can stretch (and bend) a piece of rubber a lot and it comes back to its original shape
But some solids are not elastic and break easily or stay bent For example if we bend a twig too much it breaks, or if we bend a wire too much it stays bent - which is why we can make wire shapes like stars
Some solids conduct heat very well Metal conducts heat very well but cork doesnt - which is why the wax melts off of the end where its attached to the wire, but not off the end where its attached to the cork
Some Solids Conduct Heat Poorly Which is why we put hot drinks into polystyrene cups rather than glass beakers - to keep them warm and stop us burning our hands!
Some materials are also good electrical conductors Which is why we make electrical circuits out of metal wire and not strips of wood or rubber bands!
But some materials are not good electrical conductors So if we put cork in the circuit the bulb doesnt light up. Another bad conductor is plastic which is why we coat electrical wires with plastic - to make them safe to handle!
Some materials are harder than others For example chalk and steel cant cut glass, but diamond can!
Summary We may not be able to see some types of matter but we can easily see their effects, for example we see a balloon change shape when we fill it with gas, and press on it. We have seen that solids, liquids and gasses can change into each other if we heat them up or cool them down We have seen that some materials can conduct heat and electricity better than others And finally we have seen that some materials are harder than others, and a harder material can be used to scratch, cut or shape a softer one.