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  • Writer's pictureRekha Balakrishnan

Shake it! States of Matter - the Razum International School Way

Razum’s Primary 3, 4, and 5 classes have recently started an International Primary Curriculum (IPC) unit, called ‘Shake it!’ This IPC topic comprises a science theme that has close links to cooking. Let's take a look at some of the science activities. Everything in our universe is composed of small particles known as atoms and molecules. Solids, liquids, and gases all include these molecules. Too often, children struggle to grasp the concept of molecules in states of matter because they are too minuscule to visualise.

One of these states is air, understanding Air is a matter, and it takes up space. Using an empty bottle, a balloon, and a pair of scissors; a simple demonstration teaches students, that despite not being able to visualise air, air exists and occupies space.

Our lessons begin with emphasising that gas and air is matter, and that this fills space, even though we cannot see it. Students place a balloon in an empty bottle and attempt to blow it up. They quickly notice that inflating the balloon is quite challenging. A hole is then pierced into the bottle’s end to allow the air in the bottle to escape. The students repeat the experiment with the hole-in-the-bottle and see that it is much simpler to blow and expand the balloon.

Another is exploring how chemical processes may form a gas when a solid and a liquid are mixed. A simple action that generates a great deal of enthusiasm. Baking soda and vinegar are used to generate carbon dioxide gas, which is then used to inflate the balloon.

First, fill a bottle with vinegar and a balloon with baking soda. Stretch the balloon over the top of the bottle, allowing the baking soda to pour into the vinegar in the bottle. The students hold the bottle firmly. The reaction generates carbon dioxide gas, which fills the balloon and causes it to inflate.

Recognising the states of matter is one of the most essential concepts for children to understand since it serves as the foundation for physical sciences such as chemistry and physics. These states of matter activities conducted in Razum, assist children in better visualise abstract concepts such as the examples above.

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