States of Matter: A Cooperative Learning Lesson


Jason Boulrice

May 3, 2010




  1. Students will identify the three states of matter.
  2. Students will categorize particle arrangement, shape, and volume of the three states of matter.


Developmental Level








  1. Motivation: hand out construction paper folded up. Explain to students that they are going to be doing an activity today and that they can’t open their cards up!


  1. Review what students already know about matter:
    1. Matter has mass
    2. Matter has volume (takes up space)
    3. Matter is made of atoms
    4. Atoms and molecules in matter are always moving (just learned this).


  1. Explain what they are going to be learning today: the three states of matter and how the three different states behave. Key Concept is that when a substance changes from one state to another, the molecules do not change….only their arrangement does.


  1. Explain how first, they are going to become experts in one of the states of matter.
    1. Read textbook p. 27 and 28. Find their state of matter on the following pages. Read about their individual state of matter.
    2. Take notes in the center of their paper. Stress writing important bullet notes, not copying down full paragraphs. Important notes are about particle arrangement, shape and volume.
    3. Draw particles in bottom third of paper. Pay close attention to picture on p. 29.
    4. Explain how this card is going to be their teaching tool for when we change groups.


  1. Have students gather together in their states of matter groups. They can work together to create state of matter card. (10-15 min)
  2. Explain to students how the jigsaw will work. Without talking, they will need to find their “States of Matter” partners. (A group of solid, liquid and gas). There will be some groups of 4.
  3. Next, explain how students will need to share their teaching tool (their construction paper) with their group. While they are learning, students should complete 1.4 outlines (chart). (15 min).
  4. Re-group students, gather into regular seats.
  5. Collect outlines and states of matter cards.
  6. Repeat Step 2 to reinforce today’s lesson.


Potential Next Steps/Adaptations