Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

Sandi King
Bay District Schools


Using literature to introduce the states of matter, students identify physical characteristics and group objects for a picnic using the states of matter for each object.


The student knows that objects can be grouped according to their physical characteristics (for example, shape, color, texture, form, size).


- The book, Zoehfeld, Kathleen W. [What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases]. New York, Scott Foresman, 1998. OR the book, Patten, J.M. [Let's Wonder About Science, Matter Rally Matters]. Vero Beach, FL: The Rourke Book Co., Inc., 1995.
- Chart paper and markers or a large marker board
- All charts made on Day 2 and Day 3 of the unit that group the objects for the picnic by their physical characteristics


1. Locate and preview the book, [What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases] or the book, [Let's Wonder About Science, Matter Rally Matters].

2. Locate the charts used on Day 2 and Day 3 of the unit, Our Picnic, The Study of Matter.

3. Prepare materials for recording the students' responses, either chart paper and markers or a large marker board.

4. For assistance in finding the books suggested for this lesson, go to Sunlink on the Web at (See Weblinks.) This site allows you to find the schools in each county that have a specific book. Follow these instructions: (1) Type the URL in the address line of your browser. The URL is (2) Click the button for Begin Your Search. (3) Click the part of Florida for your county. (4) Click your specific county. (5) Type the title of the book. No other information needs to be typed here. (6) Click the Find It button. (7) Click the title of the book that appears to receive the Full Record. At the bottom of the Full Record is the location of the book. (8) Request the book from the school shown.

5. Many of these activities can be used with the language arts blocks or periods. For more information on the use of these blocks see the following book. Cunningham, Patricia M., et al. [The Teacher's Guide to the Four Blocks].Greensboro, NC. Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company. Inc. 1999.


1. This is lesson plan three of seven lesson plans for the Unit Plan, Our Picnic, The Study of Matter. It covers activities for DAY 5 OF THE UNIT. If you would like to complete the unit, please see the Extensions section of this lesson plan for further information.

2. Review the physical characteristics used to group the objects for the picnic from Day 2 and Day 3 activities.

3. As an introduction to the states of matter, read the book, [What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases] or the book,[Let's Wonder About Science, Matter Rally Matters] by J. M. Patten.

4. After reading and discussing the book, suggest that there may be other characteristics that can be used to group the picnic items from the charts completed on Day 2 and Day 3.

5. Create a class chart with the title, Matter. Under Matter write the definitions of matter from the book just read: 1. Matter is anything that has mass (it can be weighed). 2. Matter has volume (it takes up space).

* Divide the chart into three sections labeled Solid, Liquid, and Gas. Definitions of each state should be written under the label.

Solid - A solid has a shape of its own. It is not runny when poured.

Liquid - A liquid takes the shape of its container. It is runny when poured.

Gas - A gas takes the shape of its container. It cannot be poured.

* Students should have an active role in creating this chart. The teacher should be asking guiding questions that allow the students to discover the different definitions and characteristics. The information on a chart made with student input will be remembered by the students and will encourage their independent reading.

6. Guide the students to the idea that the picnic objects could be grouped by state of matter. Using a new piece of chart paper, regroup the picnic objects from the Bear's chart and the class picnic chart using the three states of matter as the defining characteristic. Divide the chart paper into three sections, or use three pieces of chart paper. Label each section with the word solid, liquid, or gas. Write the definition/ description of each state from the book just read. Then regroup the picnic objects according to their states of matter. You will find that most of the objects will be listed in the solid category. Elicit other objects that may be taken on the picnic that could go in the liquid or gas categories. (Remember that the air in a ball is a gas. The air in the tires on the bus is a gas. When you open a bottle of pop, the air that escapes is a gas.)

7. As students categorize the objects for the chart, they should verbalize why each object is grouped where it is. Use this as a formative assessment of students' abilities to use physical properties to group objects and provide both affirmative feedback, such as: Exactly! The juice is a liquid and the box the juice is in is a solid. Give corrective feedback, such as: The juice box is a solid, but what about the juice in the box? Could the box of juice be in two categories? What do you think? Formatively assess the students' abilities to manage their information as they categorize each object.


This lesson plan is the third of seven lesson plans in the Unit Plan, Our Picnic, The Study of Matter. The standards addressed will be formatively assessed as the students relate how to group the various picnic items into categories of the three states of matter. Students explain the reason for the grouping using the descriptions of a solid, liquid, and gas. The teacher will give corrective and affirmative feedback.


1. Vocabulary words, heat, heating, cool, cooling, cold, freeze, solid, liquid, gas, steam, water, ice, can be used during working with words. These vocabulary words can be categorized by word meanings, vowel sounds, syllable number, phonic blends used, silent letters, etc.

2. The vocabulary words can be illustrated.

3. Sing the song “Matter Everywhere.” Words and tune are available through the associated file. The teacher or students can make up words to known melodies for the various states of matter.

4. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

This teacher resource is a site for locating books from Florida public schools.

Attached Files

Matter Everywhere song     File Extension: pdf

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