Try this time-saving but effective, student-led introductory activity to teach about the states of matter! I have found that this ‘Jigsaw’ activity gives them a chance to engage in the learning and teach one another some details about solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas within one class period.
Each student will get his or her own blank jigsaw chart, but will become an 'expert' in just one of the states (solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas). After conducting research in their 'expert' groups (using science textbooks, library books, the internet, or print-outs with information on each state) and filling in their column of the jigsaw chart, the students will re-arrange into groups containing at least one expert from each state of matter and teach the others about their state.
I have included an answer key that has all of the information filled in, as well as one key per state of matter because I have found that sometimes if there is a ‘weak link’ student in a group who did not take good notes during the research portion, the rest of the students may want to double-check the facts using the key. These are also great for absent students or if you have an un-even number of kids and need to ‘substitute’ a key in a group!
Now, every year I inevitably have a very bright student who knows about Bose-Einstein Condensate. Also, most students’ interest will be piqued when they learn that there is actually an official ‘5th’ (sometimes called ‘zeroth’) state of matter! So, after finishing the jigsaw in class or as a homework assignment, I have students conduct online research to learn about Bose-Einstein Condensate using page 3 of this document, which I copy onto the back of the jigsaw chart. Have the students share aloud what they learned about that state of matter and have everyone take notes! Discussing Bose-Einstein is also a great way to talk about the kinetic-molecular theory and the concept of absolute zero.
You may also be interested in my Making Stuff Colder Documentary Video Worksheet
and my Melting/Freezing Point Thermometer Coloring Activity
Thanks for looking!