PhET States of Matter for 5th Grade * 5-PS1-1

Grade Levels
Formats Included
  • Google Drive™ folder
5 pages
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  1. This product is 2 pdf files, One that links to the google document which can be posted directly in google classroom. It is an excellent exploration activity for 5-PS1-1.Observing Matter Activity6 station cardsTeachers notesGraphic organizer for Crosscutting Concept ConnectionSample Answers9 Vocabu
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This simulation guide helps students understand the states of matter at the particle level. Students are able to manipulate the variables that affect the state and understand this concept in a whole new way.


  • Ana says "I love that the resource shows what students will see on the screen, that makes it more manageable for younger students. Thank you."
  • Melissa says "This is perfect for my 5th graders. I only wish I had this resource sooner! Thank you."
  • Michelle says "PhET labs are always a fun exploration time, and these questions helped to guide the students to the conclusions they needed."

Students should be given the opportunity to explore/observe particle motion in the real world before completing this activity.

This is a Google Folder that contains all of the following:

  • Google Slides™️ Student Sheet
  • PDF Versions of
    • Instruction sheet for teachers
    • Instruction sheet for students in black and white and color
    • Student observation sheet (can be printed at 70% to include in an interactive notebook).
    • Sample student answer.

Standards Alignment:

  • 5-PS1-1: This standards does not specifically state that students should know about the difference in particles for the different states of matter, but asks them to develop a model that demonstrates that matter is made of particles.
  • Developing and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice)
  • Asking Questions (Science and Engineering Practice)
  • Cause and Effect (Crosscutting Concept)

***Students do not have to understand the atomic level composition of solids/ liquids or gasses. They should just know that particles make up matter, regardless of the state.***

PhET Interactive Simulations

University of Colorado Boulder

Total Pages
5 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. Examples of evidence could include adding air to expand a basketball, compressing air in a syringe, dissolving sugar in water, and evaporating salt water. Assessment does not include the atomic-scale mechanism of evaporation and condensation or defining the unseen particles.


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