States of Matter Basics

Contributor
University of Colorado PhET and Trish Loebien
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Simulation
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This simulation allows the user to choose one of four substances (A, Ne, O2, H2O), vary the temperature of the container and observe the behavior of the particles of the substance providing a straightforward means to observe the relationship specified in the performance expectation and disciplinary core idea.

Be sure to use the simulation labeled “Basics.” There are two tabs at the top of the simulation. Use only “solids, liquids, and gases.” Note:  the temperature can be recorded in K or C. by clicking on the “teacher” tab.

By scrolling down on the opening page of the simulation, one can find a number of lessons at various educational levels designed by contributors. This review is for the simulation but teachers may find the lesson,”Heat it Up!”,  http://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/3814 more adaptable than the others. It can be modified to make it appropriate for this Performance Expectation and disciplinary core idea by eliminating question #2 and Kinetic Molecular Theory from the Introduction. The Going Further activity should be omitted since it involves pressure, which is not included in the DCI.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on qualitative molecular-level models of solids, liquids, and gases to show that adding or removing thermal energy increases or decreases kinetic energy of the particles until a change of state occurs. Examples of models could include drawing and diagrams. Examples of particles could include molecules or inert atoms. Examples of pure substances could include water, carbon dioxide, and helium.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This resource will help students investigate these relationships and use a model to do so. But the students will not develop the model. Scaffold students as they observe and describe the relationship between temperature and the motion of the particles by instructing them to pick a substance such as water, click on “solid” and note the temperature and the configuration of the particles. Next click on “liquid” and note the temperature and what the particles are doing. Finally, click on “gas” and the temperature and the behaviour of the particles. Ask the students to record their observations and describe what they observed. Instruct students to draw what they observed as a part of their records.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Explicitly explain to students that the simulation is a model and it is used in explaining the characteristics of solid, liquids and gases.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The core idea is demonstrated in the simulation but not verbally stated. There is no text that states the detail in the DCI. To make the core idea explicit, scaffold students as they observe and describe the relationship between temperature and the motion of the particles by instructing them to pick a substance such as water, and click on solid and note the temperature and the configuration of the particles. Next click on liquid and note the temperature and what the particles are doing. Finally, click on gas and the temperature and the behaviour of the particles. Ask the students to record their observations and describe the pattern they have observed.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The core idea is demonstrated in the simulation but not verbally stated. There is no text that states the detail in the DCI. To make the core idea explicit, scaffold students as they observe and describe the relationship between temperature and the motion of the particles by instructing them to pick a substance such as water, and click on solid and note the temperature and the configuration of the particles. Next click on liquid and note the temperature and what the particles are doing. Finally, click on gas and the temperature and the behaviour of the particles. Ask the students to record their observations and describe the pattern they have observed.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The CCC will need to be explicitly pointed out to students. To do so, ask what caused the difference in behavior and configuration of the particles? What was the effect? Point out that there was a cause (change in temperature or thermal energy) and an effect (change in motion of the particles).

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The three dimension are not explicitly used in the simulation but they can be achieved with the students with the following procedure. Scaffold students as they observe and describe the relationship between temperature and the motion of the particles by instructing them to pick a substance such as water, click on “solid” and note the temperature and the configuration of the particles. Next click on “liquid” and note the temperature and what the particles are doing. Finally, click on “gas” and the temperature and the behaviour of the particles. Ask the students to record their observations and describe what they observed. Instruct students to draw what they observed as a part of their records. No connection is made to the macroscopic characteristics of the three phases in the PE and DCI but it is advisable that be experienced in a lab activity as a prerequisite to this lesson.

  • Instructional Supports: Since the simulation does not contain any instructional guidance, the following procedure is suggested. Scaffold students as they observe and describe the relationship between temperature and the motion of the particles by instructing them to pick a substance such as water, click on “solid” and note the temperature and the configuration of the particles. Next click on “liquid” and note the temperature and what the particles are doing. Finally, click on “gas” and the temperature and the behaviour of the particles. Ask the students to record their observations and describe what they observed. Instruct students to draw what they observed as a part of their records. The associated activity, “Heat it Up” provide guidance in creating a lesson that uses the simulation.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is no assessment in the simulation. The contributed lessons provide limited support for monitoring student progress. The student work on the worksheets in “Heating it Up” provide an avenue of monitoring what students are learning from the simulation. The contributed lesson, http://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/3496 provides two “clicker” questions that are useful in assessing student accomplishment of the DCI.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Well designed, intuitive and easy to use. This simulation can be run from the internet or downloaded as a computer file. It requires Java to run.