Facts of the Matter

Teach Starter Publishing
10 x lessons | Suitable for grades: 3 - 5

This Properties of Matter unit explores the concept that solids, liquids, and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways.

It consists of 9 lessons of approximately 60 minutes duration.

The sequence of lessons and suggested time frames should be regarded as a guide only; teachers should pace lessons in accordance with the individual learning needs of their class.

An assessment task for monitoring student understanding of the unit objectives is included and will require an additional lesson.

Teachers are encouraged to collect samples of students’ work throughout the unit to add to a learning portfolio. These can also be used to assess students’ understanding of the unit objectives.


  • To activate students' prior knowledge of solids, liquids, and gases.
  • To introduce students to key terms and concepts related to matter and states of matter.
  • To identify the observable characteristics of solids and how they behave in different ways.
  • To identify the observable characteristics of liquids and how they behave in different ways.
  • To observe that gases have mass and take up space.
  • To explore the way solids, liquids, and gases change in different situations.
  • To recognize that substances exist in different states depending on the temperature.
  • To explore how knowledge of states of matter and their changes can help inform practices and decision-making.
  • To recognize that not all substances can be easily classified on the basis of their observable properties.
  • To assess students' understanding that solids, liquids, and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways.

Preparing for Learning

This Science unit provides excellent opportunities for cross-curricular integration. Look for ways to meaningfully integrate the content of the unit with other learning areas.

Before starting the unit, develop a classroom display which focuses on states of matter. Display posters, word wall vocabulary, and learning goals that the students will engage with throughout the unit to stimulate their learning. For examples of additional teaching resources to display in your classroom, browse the Properties & Changes in Matter collection on the Teach Starter website.

The lessons and science experiments within this unit are structured in accordance with the scientific method. Ensure that the students are familiar with this process before starting the unit. A comprehensive lesson plan addressing the concepts of fair testing in Science can be downloaded here.
Some of the resources which accompany this unit plan will need to be prepared prior to teaching. For this reason, it is advised that teachers browse through all lessons before starting the unit.



  • Science 3.5(B)

    Describe and classify samples of matter as solids, liquids, and gases and demonstrate that solids have a definite shape and that liquids and gases take the shape of their container;

  • Science 3.5(C)

    Predict, observe, and record changes in the state of matter caused by heating or cooling such as ice becoming liquid water, condensation forming on the outside of a glass of ice water, or liquid water being heated to the point of becoming wa...

  • Science 4.5(A)

    Measure, compare, and contrast physical properties of matter, including mass, volume, states (solid, liquid, gas), temperature, magnetism, and the ability to sink or float; and

  • Science 5.5(A)

    Classify matter based on measurable, testable, and observable physical properties, including mass, magnetism, physical state (solid, liquid, and gas), relative density (sinking and floating using water as a reference point), solubility in wa...

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