States of Matter

Module Description

In this series of STEAM activities, students will use movement and visual arts to investigate the properties of matter. Students will begin by having fun moving and generating choreography to understand the different states of matter. Emphasizing multiple learning styles will allow students to explore concepts in a different, innovative way. Students will also look at works of art identifying the states of matter, create drawings illustrating states of matter, and then animate their illustrations integrating the use of the iPad app Chatterpix.

Learning Targets

“I Can…”

  • Use the fine arts to investigate the properties of matter
  • Observe and analyze artwork that illustrates different states of matter
  • Create original illustrations of the different states of matter
  • Animate my drawings using the Chatterpix app
  • Compare and contrast the different states of matter by using movement

Essential Questions

  • How can movement enhance my understanding of the various states of matter?
  • How can I animate my visual artwork to explain how the properties of matter interact with one another?

Curriculum Standards

GA Performance Standards:

S2CS1. Students will be aware of the importance of curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism in science and will exhibit these traits in their own efforts to understand how the world works.

S2CS5. Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly.

S2P1. Students will investigate the properties of matter and changes that occur in objects.

  1. Identify the three common states of matter as solid, liquid, or gas.

National Standards:

2.P.2.1. Understand properties of solids and liquids and the changes they undergo.

Arts Standards

GA Performance Standards:

DFD.1. Identifies and demonstrates movement elements, skills, and terminology in dance.

VA2MC.1. Engages in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas.

VA2MC.3. Selects and uses subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

VA2CU.2. Views and discusses selected artworks.

VA2PR.2. Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes of two-dimensional art processes (drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed-media) using tools and materials in a safe and appropriate manner to develop skills.

National Standards:

Visual Arts

VA:Cr1.1.2. Make art or design with various materials and tools to explore personal interests, questions, and curiosity.

VA:Pr.4.1.2. Categorize artwork based on a theme or concept for an exhibit.


DA:Cr1.1.2. a. Explore movement inspired by a variety of stimuli (for example, music/sound, text, objects, images, symbols, observed dance, experiences) and suggest additional sources for movement ideas.

Content Vocabulary

  • Investigate: Carry out research or study into a subject, typically one in a scientific field, so as to discover facts or information.
  • Properties: Frequently used to describe the attributes or traits of a substance. These properties are used to understand how a substance behaves in different situations.
  • Matter: Physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy.
  • Liquid: In the liquid phase, the particles of a substance have more kinetic energy than those in a solid. The liquid particles are not held in a regular arrangement, but are still very close to each other so liquids have a definite volume.
  • Solid: In a solid, particles are packed tightly together so they are unable to move about very much. Particles of a solid have very low kinetic energy.
  • Gas: Particles have a great deal of space between them and have high kinetic energy.

Arts Vocabulary

Dance Arts

  • Locomotor movement: Movement that moves through space.
  • Non-locomotor movement: Movement that does not move through space.
  • Segue: A series of movements.
  • Pattern: A repeating sequence.
  • Sustained: A quality of movement that is smooth and unaccented; there is no apparent start or stop, only a continuity of energy.
  • Percussive: A quality of movement characterized by sharp starts and stops; staccato jabs of energy.
  • Vibratory: A quality of movement characterized by rapidly repeated bursts of percussive movements; like a jitter.
  • Swinging: A quality of movement established by a fall with gravity, a gain in momentum, a loss of momentum, and the repeated cycle of fall and recovery, like that of a pendulum.
  • Suspended: A quality of movement that occurs in a moment of resistance to gravity, such as the instant in which a dancer hangs in space at the top of a leap.
  • Tempo: The pace or speed of movement.

Visual Arts

  • Illustration: Is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, videogames and films.
  • Animation: Is the process of making the illusion of motion and the illusion of change.
  • Elements of Art:

Formative Assessment

  • Evaluate student knowledge based on class movement activity and discussion.
  • Evaluate student knowledge based on student illustrations.
  • Anecdotal notes during students’ immersion in the art activities.

Summative Assessment

  • Students must be able to identify the state of matter, when performed.
  • Students must be able to compare and contrast the various states of matter and describe the properties present in each state.

  • Students could write the pattern as each group performs and submit for additional assessment.
  • Student illustrations of the various states of matter.
  • Students will use informational writing and voice animation to show their understanding of the states of matter.


Dance Arts:
Music/sound source (CD player, iPod, MP3, computer speakers, etc.)
Cogni-tiles (or make your own using poster board/large paper and markers)

Visual Arts:
8.5 x 11 drawing paper ( 3 sheets per student)
Colored pencils, crayons or markers
iPad with Chatterpix app

Movement - Activating Strategy

  • The Name Game: Direct the class to form a circle.
  • Pick a person to go first and have them say their name while making a movement or gesture to accompany their name.
  • The circle then collectively repeats the person's name and gesture.
  • Continue with the next person stating their name and making a gesture.
  • The circle repeats the new person's name and gesture.
  • Then, starting with the person of origin, repeat all the names and gestures shared to that point.
  • Continue until everyone in the circle has been included.

Main Activity

Part 1

  • Identify movements from the name game that were locomotor and non-locomotor.
  • Divide participants into smaller groups, assigning locomotor or non-locomotor movements to each group.
  • Create a movement phrase using 4 movements.
  • Perform for whole group.
  • Identify movement type (locomotor/non-locomotor) of each group and place on chart and/or graph.

Part 2

  • Discuss the 3 states of matter (solid, liquid and gas).
  • Explore each state of matter by first exploring tempo (speed) of atoms moving in each state: solid, liquid, or gas.
  • Then explore how each state moves paying careful attention to the movement quality that fits best for each state (sustained, percussive, vibratory, swinging, or suspended).
  • Then explore how the formations of dancers may change when depicting each state.
  • Divide into groups and assign each group two different states of matter (solid, liquid or gas).
  • Create a movement phrase that will represent how atoms move in one state and then to the other state, demonstrating understanding of both states of matter.
  • Perform for the group, while audience members observe and make notes about the performance.
  • After each group has performed, audience members will identify the group’s state, offering rationale for their identification.

Visual Arts - Activating Strategy

Visual Arts - Main Activity

Part 1

  • Introduce students to the project. They will be creating drawings illustrating the states of matter: Liquid, Solid, and Gas. Instruct students to make careful design choices. Review the Elements of Art. (see Appendix)
  • Allow students time to brainstorm ideas for their drawings.
  • Instruct students to create drawings, working first in pencil before adding color.

Part 2

  • Introduce students to the Chatterpix app. Check out this link:
  • Explain to the students that they will be giving their drawings a voice through animation.
  • Give students time to write a brief script for each drawing. You only have 30 seconds to record!
  • These animations can be pieced together in iMovie, emailed out to parents or played directly from an iPad.
  • Students can share their pieces of art in a whole group interactive gallery setting as well.

Reflection Questions

  • How did engaging in the arts support and build upon your understanding of the states of matter?
  • How did you decide what to draw to symbolize each of the states of matter?
  • How are the images related? Let’s compare and contrast them. ( Ex: ice, water, steam)

Additional Resources & Extension Activities

Technology Extension

Technology Resources


  • Elements of Art & Principles of Design
  • State of Matter Rubric