What are the three States of Matter

Water Storage Status

Factual Analysis

All living things (animals, humans, plants) need regular water to live and grow. Water is food and means of living. In addition, Earth is also called the Blue Planet because 70% is covered by water.

Water is the substance we experience every day in three different states: solid, liquid and gas. These three states are called state forms or composite states.

The three states of aggregation can be described as follows.


A solid always has a definite shape and a definite volume. It can only be changed by applying external forces (such as pressure). Solid bodies have surfaces that limit them.


A fluid has a definite volume, but not a definite shape. It takes the shape of the container it is in or forms droplets. Liquids form surfaces that confine them.


A gaseous substance has no specific shape and specific volume. It is distributed in the space at your disposal. Gases do not form surfaces that separate them from their environment, but are limited in their diffusion from the environment.

Solids and liquids are always visible, even colorless, because their boundary is the surface. On the other hand, gaseous substances are usually not visible unless they are colored.

In the case of water, the different states of aggregation are called ice (solid water), water (liquid water) and water vapor (shiny water).

Other substances also appear in three different states of aggregation. But there is no other substance which also exists in the three composite states.

Other examples of holistic stages of daily life:

Wax: Candle wax becomes liquid when you light a candle
Chocolate: Chocolate becomes liquid (viscous) in the sun and liquefies in a saucepan
Lead: When lead is poured, solid lead turns back into liquid and solid upon abrupt cooling in water
Margarine: Deep Fried

Substances change their physical state by absorbing or releasing energy, that is, when their temperature rises (e.g. stove, candle flame, human body temperature, sun, etc.).

Transition from one physical state to another is certain temperatures and is referred to by some technical terms. When the state of aggregation changes.

The substance itself is retained, but its state changes (cf. when wood is burned, for example, wood is not retained, but ash is produced ).

The terms boiling point/melting point are often synonymous with boiling point/melting point etc. The boiling point/melting temperature designation is preferable because substances evaporate/melt at a certain temperature.

In addition, not all substances melt at a certain temperature, but rather have a melting limit (such as chocolate).

According to Bader, H.J.; Drexler, B.; Gerlach, S. (1999): Reinforcement through competence. Teaching of scientific material in general education. Institute of Chemistry Education of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main.

Teaching Notes: Because water appears in its three aggregate stages in daily life, children have a lot of past experience with different aggregate stages.

However, the different states of aggregation are not attributed solely to the water substance. They are already separated in language.

We say “ice” in solid water, “water” in liquid water, and “vapor” in sparkling water. Your tongue doesn’t have this separation with other substances, for example you call solid wax “wax” and there is no separate word for liquid wax.

For children, ice is different from water. Especially since ice cream is also called “ice cream”. Experiments on aggregate states of water should serve to identify the link between individual aggregate states.

It is a substance similar to water, although it looks very different. In an attempt to “melt the snowflakes” it should be clear that the ice does not disappear, but the amount of water that is initially available after it has melted.

It is also important to argue that the change in the state of aggregation is caused by temperature. At a certain temperature, water is always in a certain physical state.

Due to the temperature of our environment, water can usually be seen in the liquid state. A clear diagram (see fig.) helps to structure these views for changes in the state of aggregation.

diagram of physical states of water

In this diagram, the temperature axis can be used to visualize the rise or fall of temperature and the respective states of aggregation. The colored marking of arrows supports the line of thought.

Melting and boiling temperatures can be combined in the temperature axis. Sublimation and reintegration are not discussed in primary schools.

The gaseous state is particularly difficult to understand because gases are not visible. Children’s idea that water turns into air or evaporates or disappears as it evaporates.

It is therefore an advantage to develop it if children already have experience with the subject of air (see CHEMOL) and know that there are gases.

Therefore, children should carefully observe the warming process. Bubbles form and rise and you can see the “steam” when the water boils.

This “vapor” is made up of tiny droplets of condensed water that are carried upward by heat. On the other hand, you cannot see water vapor.

Now it is important that the water vapor returns to the water when it cools. So it’s the same fabric, but it looks completely different.

The “season I” experiment is suitable for developing it. The “Waiter II” experiment transfers the phenomenon to a larger scale, where children apply what they have learned to a different experimental setup.

It makes sense to discuss a range of experiments here, from small, easily observable experiments to the weather cycle. Only when children understand that liquid water becomes carbonated when heated can evaporation be explained.

When it comes to evaporation, the only thing that can be observed is that the water has gone away at some point. You can’t see where he went.

With prior knowledge of evaporation experiments, children can more easily recognize that the air must contain water vapor.

This can be checked by cooling the air, for example by placing ice in a spoon or placing a glass in the fridge. The fact is that the rate of transition from liquid to gas with increasing temperature can be calculated with the “evaporation and evaporate” experiment.

Melt Ice Cubes

Home Appliances & Clothing

  • Glass and pen (or measuring cup, such as a measuring cup)
  • Pieces of ice
  • tap water


The glass is half full of water. Add one more ice cubes to the glass. Then the water level is marked with a pen or the value is noted on the scale. Now keep it till the ice cubes melt.

Type- Place an ice cube as large as possible in a glass. Then fill the glass with enough water that it does not overflow.


Ice cube floats on the surface of water. It dissolves in water and if you look closely you can see that cold water is flowing towards the bottom of the glass.

There was no change in the water level even after the snow melted.


An ice cube floats on the surface of water because the density of ice is less than that of water. Ice is water in solid form. At a temperature of 0 °C, it melts and becomes liquid water.

The physical state changes from solid to liquid. The portion of ice that is under water displaces some of the water (so the water level rises when you put a piece of ice in the water).

For this reason, and since the density of water is greater than the density of ice, there is no increase in volume in the vessel.


If the Earth’s atmosphere were warmer, for example due to the greenhouse effect, the ice at both poles would melt. Currently, for example, this spring in Svalbard in the Arctic has been very hot, up to 13 °C.

The ice at the North Pole floats in water. When it melts, sea level does not rise because the ice has already displaced the water.

On the other hand, when the ice at the South Pole melts, the world sea level rises because it is on land and therefore the water does not move.

Water Droplets Freeze

Equipment and clothing

  • metal lid of champagne bottle stopper
  • Glass sticks or similar (eg, large stirrers)
  • Freezer / Compartment
  • A glass
  • tap water


With a glass rod, you put a drop of water on the cork of a champagne bottle and keep it in the freezer. Let stand in the freezer for about ten minutes (depending on the amount of water and the temperature in the freezer).

After removing it, a drop of frozen water (snow) can be seen.


The water drop will freeze in the freezer. After removing it, the ice drop becomes liquid again. If you look closely, the other side of the cork of the champagne bottle will also get wet.


Liquid water freezes into solid water (ice) at 0 °C and lower temperatures. Ice melts from 0 °C and at a higher temperature than liquid water.

The temperature at which a solid melts or a liquid freezes is called the melting or freezing temperature.


If you leave the cover with liquid water droplets in the air for about an hour (depending on room temperature and water content), the water will evaporate.

Liquid water turns into carbonated water (water vapour). If you use tap water, you may see a residue on the lid after the water has evaporated.

These are salts that were dissolved in tap water and are now being left behind. This effect can be avoided by using distilled water (such as iron water), as it is pure water without dissolved salts.

evaporation / condensation

Equipment and Clothing

  • glass
  • fridge or freezer
  • implementation

A glass is placed in the refrigerator or freezer. Then you take it out and look into the air.


The glass “evaporates” into the air. If you run your finger on the glass, it is wet. After a short time the glass dries again and is no longer “tarnished”.


The glass is cooled in the fridge. There is water vapor in the air. The water vapor of the air condenses on the cold surface of the glass and turns into liquid water.

The glass “evaporates”. If the glass is left in the air for a longer period of time, it is heated and the liquid water evaporates back to water vapor.


Condensation of water vapor from the air on cold objects can also be observed in an “attempt to freeze water droplets”.

This phenomenon can be observed in everyday life in many ways, for example in winter the glasses “fog up” when you walk out of the cold in a warm environment.

The mirror in the bathroom “gets blurry” when you take a hot shower. The water vapor generated during cooking condenses under the lid of a saucepan.

When you take frozen food out of the freezer, the exterior of the package gets wet.

Evaporation and Evaporation

Equipment and Clothing

  • 2 x Metal Caps of Champagne Bottle Stopper
  • grill tongs
  • glass rod
  • Candle
  • Matchbox
  • Distilled water (such as for steam irons)


Put a drop of distilled water on each metal cover with a glass rod. You leave one behind. The second is carefully heated over a candle flame. The lid is held in place with grill tongs.


You can see how fast the water disappeared in the second part of the experiment. It takes at least an hour for the water to disappear on the second attempt.


In the first part of this experiment, we can see how the water slowly evaporates. The transition from liquid to gas occurs at temperatures far below the boiling point.

The second part of the experiment shows that the energy input accelerates the transition from liquid to gas. we then talk about evaporation.


If you use tap water, you will find residue after it has evaporated or evaporated. These are salts dissolved in water that are left behind.

Season I

Home Appliances & Clothing

  • small spoon
  • candle holder
  • empty tea bowl
  • metal frame of champagne cork
  • tap water
  • Pieces of ice


Tap water is poured into an empty bowl of tea lights. It is held on a thread of champagne cork. A candle is placed under the frame and lit.

Then water is seen in the tea bowl. When the “steam” rises, an ice cube is placed on the spoon. Then hold the spoon to “steam”. You can also place the spoon over an ice-free warming bowl.


After about 2 minutes (depending on the amount of water) you can see small bubbles rising in the water. Over time they will become more and more “steam” after about 6 minutes.

If you put an ice cube in the spoon, it “rises” (a liquid can be seen) from the bottom without being put in the “vapor”. If you put it to “vapor”, even more moisture builds up.

Moisture droplets accumulate at the deepest point and fall on the ground there.

Even when there is no ice in the spoon, the liquid builds up under the spoon and drips if you hold it at an angle. On the other hand, with ice, more liquid is formed.


Water is heated by a candle flame. Various gases present in the air (oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen) also dissolve in water. These gases are expelled by heating, causing the bubbles that previously dissolved in the water.


This dissolved gas phenomenon should be practically reduced at this stage. If the water is heated further, the gases precipitate out and the liquid water becomes carbonated.

It can also be seen in the form of bubbles, which have now disappeared.

To Smoke

However, the water doesn’t boil at first. It is only when a temperature of 100 °C is reached that it begins to boil, which can be observed with small amounts of water.

Liquid water evaporates and turns into water vapor. The water vapor rises up and is not visible as it gasifies. However, it cools rapidly in the air, causing it to condense into tiny droplets of water.

These tiny droplets form the “vapor” we see rising up. Rather, this “vapor” should be called fog, because fog is made up of tiny droplets of water in the air.

Under the spoon, the rising water vapor cools again and becomes liquid water: it condenses. As soon as a lot of water condenses on the spoon, large droplets form: it begins to “rain”.


We can compare this effort to time. In nature, however, water is not brought to a boil, but evaporates. This difference between experience and nature needs to be discussed.

As water vapor rises outside, it cools more and more with altitude (rule of thumb: 1 degree Celsius of cooling per 100 meters of altitude). Scoop Ice Cream is a model of this phenomenon.

In this experiment, during heating, we can treat the moisture build-up on the underside of the spoon, which forms after placing ice on it.

When it comes to entry level effort it is hard for kids to explain it. If other experiments on physical states have been done before, what has been learned can be repeated here.

If the kids claim that the water from the melting ice cube flows off the side of the spoon and the water under the spoon drains out of it, you can back this objection and use a larger bowl ( for example).

For example the lid of a jam jar which can hold more water.

Season II

Equipment and clothing

  • hot plate
  • Pitcher
  • Domed metal bowl (for example, the lid of a cookie jar)
  • packing tape
  • launcher
  • credit card holder / cap
  • tap water
  • Pieces of ice


If you don’t have a curved metal bowl, you can do this with a cookie jar lid: You can lay it on the sand and make a round arch with a round object (for example, a round stone).

Huh. With a tin punch, poke holes in the side of the cover and attach masking tape to them so you can hang the cover.
Tap water is poured into the pot and heated with a hot plate.

The metal bowl hangs from a ceiling hook or card holder with straps. When the steam rises, the ice cubes are placed in a metal bowl.


After a while (depending on the amount of water) you can see small bubbles rising in the water. Over time there will be more and the steam will rise.

If you put ice cubes in a metal bowl, it “rises up” from the bottom (the liquid can be seen). If you steam them, more moisture will collect. Moisture droplets accumulate at the deepest point and fall on the ground there. It is raining”.


Water is heated from a hot plate. The explanation is the same as in the “season I” experiment. The water vapor rises and can be seen.

The rising water vapor cools on the metal shell and becomes liquid water: it condenses. It starts raining. “


This experiment is an “extension” of the Waiter I experiment. In this way, students have to transfer the knowledge gained during the first experiment to a new experimental setup.

This mental connection can then be extended to the actual weather cycle. The reverse learning path is also possible for experiments with weather cycles.

However, an explanation based on experimental observations more closely resembles a theory of real phenomena than is directly observable for explanations.

Water Cycle Model

Home Appliances & Clothing

  • plastic bottle
  • 2 cardboard boxes (you can also use the bottom and lid for a shoe box for example)
  • Metal bowl (for example, lunch box or cake pan)
  • scissors or needle to prick
  • Paint, glue, cardboard, etc.
  • cable
  • hot tap water
  • Pieces of ice


Cut the neck of the bottle with scissors and cut the bottle lengthwise (smaller half-liter plastic bottles are easier to cut because they have thinner walls).

The box is cut or sewn to place a landscape in front of it. The box can also be painted or pasted over. The second box is located behind the first.

Two brackets are bent from the wire. Two brackets are hung in two notches in the back wall and alternately fixed with adhesive tape.

Place the metal mold in the “horizontal box” and fill it with hot water. The cut bottle is hung in holders and filled with ice cubes.


The “steam” rises from the hot water. Liquid drops form on the bottom half of the vial. A few drops flow over time. “it rains”.


Liquid water evaporates and turns into water vapor. The water vapor rises up and is not visible as it gasifies. However, it cools rapidly in the air, causing it to condense into tiny droplets of water.

These tiny droplets form the “vapor” we see rising up. Rather, this “vapor” should be called fog, because fog is made up of tiny droplets of water in the air.

The rising water vapor at the bottom of the bottle cools and becomes liquid water: it condenses. As a lot of water condenses on the bottle, large droplets form.

It begins to “rain”.

At the bottom of the bottle, you can already see the water when the spoon contains ice, as the air already contains water vapor. It cools in a cold bottom and condenses


This model shows the water cycle and thus continues the flow of ideas for experiments I + II times and the technical concept of stages of aggregation is reiterated.

Can kids make crafts on their own and need to think about the design, such as what the landscape should be like? Where is the water, for example where are the mudflats, mountains etc. ?

You absolutely have to compare the model to the reality. The individual components of the model and the observations should be compared to aspects of the water cycle.

For example, we can discuss where water evaporates and where “clouds” form and then where it rains (more often). It should be clarified that there are no plastic bottles with snowflakes hanging in the sky.


Aggregation conditions Cyclic processes in nature. Scissors quickly become dull when you cut a plastic bottle. Alternatively, you can heat wire or a knife, for example on a candle, and cut the bottle. Source.

1-Where are Dutch people from

2-Where are they Situated


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