Interactive, scaffolded model
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Students will observe models of macroscopic and microscopic solids, liquids, and gases. Students will observe that there is space between the molecules of a gas and very little or no space between the molecules of a liquid and a solid, and that the extent of molecular movement and degree of inter-molecular attractions differs in the phases.
Students will be able to:
This activity has students zoom into substances in order to compare the molecular properties of the different states of matter. This activity stands alone, but is also available as a second activity from a week-long module (see additional background for a link to the module).
This activity is also a prerequisite Stepping Stone activity because it provides students with a strong mental model about the molecular structure and properties of matter. For a biology classroom it is important to explain that all living things contain solids, liquids, and gases. These different states have specific properties that relate to their role in the living systems.
Solid, liquids, and gases differ in terms of their macroscopic properties as well as the arrangement and movement of their molecules.
Additional Related Concepts
Users might like to extend this activity by working with the activity Phase Change (activity 180).
See teacher guide
This is activity 2 of a full module that starts with:
Students observe some macroscopic properties for the three phases of matter and then compare these properties to the microscopic properties depicted in the molecular model. By directly correlating observable macro-scale properties to the micro-scale behavior of atoms in matter, students will begin to develop their own conception of the kinetics in a particulate model of matter.