Looking for some hands-on activities for your French states of matter unit? I want to share with you five engaging activities that you can use with your elementary students.
Several of these experiments come from my French Properties of Solids and Liquids unit. You can find many more states of matter activities in this unit that will help your French students dig deep!
PS – need more science content? Take a look at my other posts about science.
Experiment 1: Oobleck
Oobleck is a great experiment for talking about the gray area between the states of matter. Oobleck is a non-newtonian substance, meaning it acts like a solid and a liquid depending on how much pressure is added.
First, have your students create oobleck using two cups of cornstarch and one cup of water. You can also add food colouring, but it’s not required. Then, have students record their observations. When does the substance act as a solid / liquid?
Experiment 2: Mixing Solids and Liquids
This experiment will help you introduce the concept of a solution vs. a mixture to students. Talk about what a solution and a mixture is with your class, and then have students mix together a variety of solids with water to see if they dissolve. Not sure what to mix? Try salt, coffee, and pepper!
As students are mixing solids and liquids, have them record their findings. I have a worksheet for recording this experiment in my French states of matter unit.
Experiment 3: Ice Cream in a Bag
This is a classic state of matter activity! Student’s will watch a liquid turn to solid before their eyes. Before the experiment takes place, have students create a hypothesis of what will happen when they mix the ingredients. Have them adjust their hypothesis when the experiment is done.
To make ice cream in a bag, you need one cup of half-and-half, two tablespoons of sugar, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, three cups of ice, a third cup kosher salt, and two ziploc bags of different sizes. Combine the half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla in the smaller ziploc and seal shut. Add the salt, ice, and the sealed small bag into a bigger bag. Seal it shut, shake vigorously and watch it become ice cream!
Experiment 4: Floating and Sinking
With this activity, students will learn about how the density of water affects flotation. You need two cups, one with plain water and one with water that contains lots of salt. Use a room temperature egg and put it in the water cup, then in the salted water cup. The egg should sink in the water cup and float in the salted water cup
With students, talk about how adding salt affects the density of water. It changes the mass without changing the volume of the water much. This causes the egg to float in the second cup.
Experiment 5: Balloon Blowup
This state of matter activity will blow your students away! They will watch a balloon seemingly fill itself up. You need a balloon, water bottle, and alka seltzer tablet. Fill the water bottle halfway with water, crush two to four tablets of alka seltzer, and add them to the bottle. Lastly, attach the balloon to the bottle and watch the balloon inflate.
Ask students why they think the balloon inflated. Then discuss how the gas from the alka seltzer caused the balloon to inflate.
Want more hands-on experiments for your French states of matter unit? I got you covered! This unit contains over sixty pages of activities, centres, and craftivities to help your French elementary students master the states of matter. Grab the full unit here!
Excited to get started on your states of matter unit? I have some free French States of Matters posters that are a great classroom resource to guide your students. You can grab them below!