By third grade or fourth grade kids are introduced to the topic of various states of matter in school.
So when my daughter read from her text book that matter has three states
I wanted her to experiencing these various states and do some activity around it.
There are two other states plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates, but obviously these are not meant to be discussdc with my 9 year old. For us these will come into picture 8-9 years later.
Here is a simple activity I have set up for this purpose.
- Some used candles (we are using ones that were left from her birthday celebration)
- One bowl to melt the candle
- One more bowl for keeping ice.
- One scissor to hold the wick
Pre-Preparartion: Freeze water in a bowl so that Ice is ready when you begin this activity.
- Three states of substance.
2. Default state of some substance at room temperature varies depending upon its properties.
3. Gas when cooled is converted into liquid. Liquid when further cools down converts into solid.
4. What is the process of melting and condensation.
Show the kid the original state of two substance ICE and Candle Wax.
Break the old candle wax into small pieces, take the wick out for later use.
Melt the candles in a bowl over gas stove, occasionally stir wax by holding the bowl with pincer.
While you are doing this let your kids observe it. Show the child the vapours coming from the wax. Indicate that this is the gaseous form and it will soon get mixed with surrounding air.
Once wax has melted completely set it aside to cool down.
I did an additional thing, to also make a new candle using the melted wax.
Apply oil in a bowl in which wish to make candle. Pour wax gently so as not to disturb the layer of oil applied on bowl.
If you wish use one of the discarded wick and place it in the center of wax
To hold the wick vertically I used a scissor, see image below.
While we were playing around with wax, the ice in the other bowl has melted.
Let the child observe the melting and condensation process side by side.
This practical hands on activity helps child to understand that each material has a different state at room temperature. Some will be in liquid form and some solid.
We observed it. How a solid ice has melted and converted into liquid (water)? How a solid wax melted and later again condensed into solid?
When they observe melting and condensation happening side by side, it stays with them forever. No more mugging the definition.
Every time someone mentions these words this activity we have done will get refreshed in memory.
Try this with your kid and let me know how it goes.
Please note following:
- It has to be an adult led activity, kid has to just observe things not participate in melting the wax and handling hot wax.
- Appropriate for age group 8 Plus , not below that.
- Do it in an open kitchen, not on a burner in a closed room and take only a small quantity of wax.
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