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Ice, Water, Steam

In this game, students will change water from one phase of matter to the other at their teacher's command.

Every day, we encounter water in its three different phases or states:

  • liquid water
  • solid water (ice)
  • gaseous water (steam)

Theoretically all substances can exist in these three forms as well, but water is the only substance that is widely found in natural environments that exists in these three phases of matter within Earth's ordinary temperature conditions.

Fun Fact: Water is one of the few known substances whose solid form is less dense than the liquid. That is why icebergs can float on ocean water. Imagine what would happen to the fish in a lake every winter if ice sank!


  • Describe properties of the different states of water.


  • large open area (gymnasium)
    minimum 6 students for game

Key Questions

  • When you were ice, why did you all hold hands in a large group and stop moving?
  • When you were water, why did you hold hands in groups of three and walk around?
  • When you were steam, why did you run on your own and try to fill up the gym?

What To Do

  1. The students are all water molecules and will change between three different states of matter: solid (ice), liquid (water) and gas (steam).
  2. When they are ice, they have to all hold hands in a large group and stop moving.
  3. When they are water, they have to hold hands in groups of 3 and walk around the gym.
  4. When they are steam, they have to run around fast on their own and fill the ‘volume’ of the gym.
  5. Begin the game by shouting one of the three instructions (ice, water, or steam) and continue by changing the phases.


  • In addition to shouting either ice, water or steam, the instructions can include “hotter” or “colder”. Students change phases based on the temperature indicated by the teacher.
  • To practice change-of-state vocabulary, instructions can include “evaporate”, “condense”, “sublimate”.