Students explore atom interactions in different states of matter with this physical game.

All matter is made out of tiny particles, those particles can be single atoms or groups called molecules. For example, water is made out of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, forming a molecule called H2O.

Water has many different states such as solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapour). When the particles come close together and have little energy, they stick to each other in a regular arrangement and vibrate slightly, forming a solid. Particles in liquids are still tightly packed, but they have enough energy to roll over each other. In a gas the particles are no longer packed in as they have enough energy to fly around in all directions quickly.

### Objectives

• Describe the properties of a solid, a liquid, and a gas.

### Materials

• Large space for students to run around

### Key Questions

• Why would it be easier to cut through gas than solid?
• Why does gas and liquid take the shape of its container and a solid doesn’t?

### What To Do

Students represent the smallest particle (an atom or molecule depending on the substance).

1. When facilitator yells “Solid!”, students (particles) must run together, form a grid pattern and walk on the spot.
2. When facilitator yells “Liquid!”, students must walk around reach other but still be quite close.
3. When facilitator yells “Gas!”, students must run as far away from each other as possible.

Consider marking out a ‘bowl’ outline. Solid students will form a shape resting in the bowl but irrespective of its shape. Liquid students will fill the bowl. Gas students will fly out of the bowl.

### Extensions

• Demonstrate how tightly packed atoms are by having a kid be a “knife”. Can he/she run through atoms in a solid as easily as a gas?When do students represent atoms (metals) and molecules (non-metals and compounds)? Why? How could this model be changed so that students represent atoms even when demonstrating a molecular substance?Are particles attracted to each other? What is the evidence for and against this? How can the attraction be broken? Is this physical or chemical change?

Survivors

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

Egg BB

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

Comet Crisp

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

T-Rex and Baby

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Buddy the T-Rex

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Geodessy

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Science Buddies

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

Western Dinosaur

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.