Lesson: State 1: Solids

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Lesson Objective

Students will identify and describe solids through their properties.

Lesson Plan


  • Background Knowledge (from http://www.lessonsnips.com)
  •  When matter is in a solid state, it holds its shape. The molecules of the matter are very close together, and they barely move. The atoms that make up the molecules of a solid are in motion, because all atoms are moving all the time. Even though the tiny atom particles are in motion, the molecules are not free to go anywhere they want. The solid stays in one position. You can hold a solid in your hand.

Many solids do not have much, if any, flexibility. That means they can’t be easily bent or molded into a new shape. For example, a rock can not change its shape unless it breaks. Some solids, like clay, can be molded and changed. But some kind of force must be applied to change the shape.

  • Optional realia: solid objects that students can describe the properties of (e.g. apple, fork)



  • Ask: What is matter?
  • Define: Matter is anything that takes up space.
  • Ask: What are the 3 types of matter
  • Have students turn to their neighbor and share the 3 types of matter.
  • Today we will be learning more about Solids.



  • Chart (see notes pdf): What is a Solid
  • A solid keeps their own shapes.
  • A soild cannot be easily bent or molded into a new shape.
  • Under a microscope, a solid’s particles are packed tightly together.
  • When scientists describe objects, they describe an object’s properties.
  • Hold up the apple (or a picture).
  • Ask: If I wanted to describe the properties of this object, what could I say?
  • Call on students and chart their responses. (i.e. red/color, smooth/texture, small/size, sweet/taste)
  • Ask students describe the properties of the 2nd object.
  • Create a word list for different types of properties
  • Size: small, medium, large, etc.
  • Texture: smooth, rough
  • Feels: soft, hard
  • Color: red, light blue
  • Materials: wood, metal
  • Tell the students that they will use what they know about solids and their properties to write riddles for the class to solve.
  • Show example: What is solid, wooden, tall, and has shelves?
  • Have students guess the answer (e.g. bookcase)
  • At their desks, students should write their solid property riddle using the sentence frame:
  • What is solid, _______, _________, and __________?



  • After students have written their riddles, volunteers can share their riddle and have other students try to guess the solid based on the property clues in the riddle.
  • Tell the students that tomorrow they will learn about liquids and their properties.



While this lesson is limited to only solids, I find the strength in the focus on objects and their properties. While the content is physical science and states of matter, the student are developing the basis for scientific skills and reasoning that aid them in future science courses. Being able to describe properties is a skill that comes up in physics (properties of sound, light), chemistry (properties of chemicals, gases, elements), and many other domains. In this lesson you want to expand students' vocabulary of all the different ways that we can classify and categorize things by their different properties. In early elementary, students are often limited to: something is big or small or hard or soft. Adding details such as texture, shape, sounds, etc. provide richer descriptions of the objects that they're working with.

Lesson Resources



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