Lesson: States of Matter Collage

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Lesson Objective

Students will classify and sort objects based on the type of matter that they represent.

Lesson Plan


  • Prepare a collage of examples  of one of the states of matter beforehand to show as a model.
  • Setup 3 parts of the room for collage making. Each section should have: The colored paper for that state of matter, magazines, scissors, glue, and markers.



  • Ask: What is matter?
  • Response: Anything that takes up space.
  • Ask: What are the three states of matter?
  • Have the students do a “round robin” in groups of three.
  • Ask: What are some types of solids.
  • In groups of three the students go around their circle, one at a time, they share an example of a solid. Time the groups for 1 minute and then call on students to share out the examples they came up with.
  • Repeat round robin: types of liquids and types of gases.



  • Tell the students that they will be making States of Matter collages today.
  • They will be searching through magazines to find examples of states of matter.
  • Show teacher example.
  • Tell the students in teams of 3 each person will make one state of matter. One person will make a collage of all the solids that they find, one person will make a collage of all the liquids that they find, and one person will make a collage of all the gases that they find.
  • Separate students into groups of 3. (or let them pick their groups)
  • Students should decide who will do what type of matter.
  • After students have chosen who will do what, they should split up into the 3 different parts of the room (liquids in one area, solids in another, and gases in another)
  • ***You can have groups of 3 work together, or use these larger groups and they they bring back their individual piece to their trio at the end.
  • Allow students 25 minutes to complete their collage. When they finish, they should meet with their team to write titles no their poster, and prepare to present on example from each state of matter poster. 



  • Have trios stand in front of the class to present what part they did for their group and the best example that they found for their state of matter.
  • Tell the students that tomorrow we will be learning how sometimes something in one state of matter can transform into another state of matter.

Post the collages on a bulletin board for the students to refer to for the remainder of the unit.



I am always surprised by the examples that students are able to find in this activity. I always think the gas group will struggle filling up their collage, but there are always able to find plenty of examples (steam from a cup of coffee, clouds, hot air balloon). There is also some good discussion when there is one item that could work for more than one category (a metal tank of oxygen, or a boat with wind pushing the sail), the students are quick to debate why and often share items they found with other groups. I also like this activity as an assessment piece. Students need to classify and categorize the many objects that they find in the magazines. They need to know why the object would fit in their collage. 

Lesson Resources

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