Study of Matter


  • Distinguish between chemical and physical changes with this “Changes in Matter” activity.
  • Prepare unknown samples of heterogeneous mixtures, homogeneous mixtures (solutions), and pure substances, then use this “Classifying Chemicals Using Properties” activity.  It includes an evaluation in PDF form.
  • Try this “Elements and the Periodic Table” Puzzle (pdf).
  • Have fun learning the symbols for the elements with this “Elemental Tale” (pdf).
  • Make “Oobleck” and describe it’s properties.  Get teacher overview and materials list here and activity  in (pdf).
  • Try this “The Study of Matter” wordsearch (doc) with answers (doc).
  • Or do this “The Study of Matter” crossword puzzle (doc).
  • If you use Holt’s Modern Chemistry, do Abigail Freiberger’s Chapter 1, “Matter and Change” Study Guides for objectives 1 (doc), 2 (doc), 3 (doc), and 4 (doc). Also, use her Homework Worksheet (doc), Practice Problems (doc) and Quiz (doc) for the chapter.  And you might want to show these PowerPoint presentations for the first (pdf) and second (pdf) halves of the chapter.
  • Show The World of Chemistry video, “A State of Matter,” and have students answer the questions on this “World of Chemistry: States of Matter” worksheet.
  • Try Arbor Scientific’s “Exploring Matter Activities” that include demos, labs, and activities.
  • This “States of Matter mini-module” (pdf) contains pre- and post-tests, activities, labs, and worksheets.
  • Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science designed this “Density Column Using Recyclable Plastics” (pdf) middle school activity to explain the concepts governing the recycling of plastics, problems encountered in the recycling process due to the different types of plastics used, and to gain an understanding of the differing properties of each type of plastic using density to illustrate the concept of density. 
  • Introducing Inquiry and the Nature of Science” introduces basic procedures involved in inquiry and concepts describing the nature of science.
  • For middle school students try these Sponge Bob Science worksheets, “Bikini Bottom Experiments” (pdf) and “Controls and Variables” (pdf).
  • The movie “October Sky” is the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes.  It is an inspirational movie that demonstrates how boys, through trial and error were able to construct a rocket that lead to winning the National Science Fair’s top award.  Here is an “October Sky” (doc) worksheet.
  • Try Evan’s Chemistry Corner’s “Matter vs Not Matter” (pdf) worksheet with these (pdf) index cards.
  • Or try his “Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures” (pdf) worksheet that has students read a poem about these and answer questions from it.
  • Do his “The Nature of Matter” (pdf) worksheet.
  • A good middle school activity for introducing controls and variables in an experiment is “Identify the Controls and Variables” with the Simpsons.  Lisa Smith from the NSTA Listserve has used the site to create the worksheet “The Simpsons – Identifying the Controls and Variables” (doc).
  • Introduce students to the Metric System with The Science Spot’s “Metric Mania Lessons.”
  •  And then try this “Data, data everywhere: Measurement Scavenger Hunt” (doc)  with this student worksheet (doc) or this “Mini-Metric Olympics” (pdf) activity.


  • Demonstrate density with Flinn Scientific’s “The Case of the Sunken Ice Cube” (pdf) demonstration.
  • Use the Scientific Method to solve the “Egg In a Bottle” problem.
  • Do the “Observation of a Candle” lab.
  • Demonstrate a chemical change.
  • Middle School lab on Properties of Matter (pdf).
  • Another demonstraton of density is “The Sinking or Floating Cans” demo.
  • What Chemists Do: Identification and Analysis” is a form of the traditional white powders lab and “Mystery Powder Lab” is another version.
  • Do this “Dunkin’ for Density” (pdf) lab with data sheet (xls).
  • Demonstrate density with the Flinn Scientific Inc. “Case of the Sunken Ice Cube” 
  • Do the Flinn Scientific Inc. “How Sweet It Is: A Colorful Sugar Solution Density Column” (pdf)demonstration.
  • Try this “Physical and Chemical Changes” lab.
  • The “Comparing Compounds and Mixtures”  lab was found at Evan’s Chemistry Corner.
  • His “My Type of Mixture” (pdf) lab demonstrates the difference between homogenius and heterogenius mixtures.
  • Use Tracie Schroeder’s worksheet to teach students “How to Light a Bunsen Burner (doc).”
  • Start the year off with some of these “First Day Demonstrations” (pdf).
  • Test your students observation skills by doing the “Cheese Candle” (doc) demo.


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