Contrasting student and also scientific views

Student daily experiences

Students’ understandings of solids, liquids and gases have actually been fine researched and confirm the their beforehand conception of these terms is shaped by their day-to-day use of this words. Student are typically reported together using the word ‘solid’ as an adjective fairly than to define a course of substances. Typically, once students room asked for examples of every state, they room able to carry out numerous instances of solids, much less of liquids and also only a few of gases - which reflects their common experiences. Solids are frequently identified as objects that have the right to be held, liquids together ‘dishwashing liquids’ that are ‘runny’ or ‘wetting’ and also gases together LPG gas or propane gas that are combustible. Everyday language shows up to strong influence early student identification. For example, solid steel, fluid detergent and camping gas space frequently noted when students are asked for instances of building materials in each state.

You are watching: Is toothpaste a solid liquid or gas

Research: Jones (1984), Krnel, Watson & Glazar (1998)

Student ideas about gases are further explored in the focus idea A gas is matter.

Some student strongly believe that to it is in a heavy the substance need to be really hard and clearly consolidated right into unbreakable lumps. Building materials which appear as flour or in fine granules choose sand or talc are often determined as liquids since they are regarded by student as easily shaped or openly poured. Various other students are comfortable through seeing powder together a solid due to the fact that it will not ‘wet’ immersed objects. Water and also water based liquids (for example milk, sea water, cordial and also lemonade) space recurring instances of liquids determined by students. Non-water based liquids like food preparation oils, kerosene, mineral turpentine, paraffin oil and also oil based paints room less typically identified. Evidence says that students easily associate liquids v water or assume they all contain part water because they room a liquid.

Research: McGuigan, Qualter & Schilling (1993), Krnel, Watson & G​lazar (1998)

Scientific view

The group of matter right into one that three states (solid, liquid or gas) is a convenient way in lower levels to identify when substances change state (i.e. Melt, boil, evaporate or freeze). However since this is a simple system that classification and the framework of issue is complex, it is not without difficulties. Numerous substances cannot be divide easily and many not at all. For example, hair gel, toothpaste, mayonnaise, play dough and Oobleck (created native a mixture that corn starch and also water) carry out ‘fuzzy’ instances which stand up to easy classification. Offered the limitation that this classification system, some acceptable concepts when defining solids, liquids and gases are:

Solids are best defined as occupying a consistent volume and retaining their shape when moderate pressures are applied to them.Liquids likewise occupy a continuous volume yet easily adjust shape to complement that of your container by flowing to form a horizontal surface. Lock are stated to ‘flow’ easily or it is in ‘runny’ or ‘wetting’ and also can withstand moderate comp​ressive forces.A gas can occupy any type of size container, is likewise able to ‘flow’ and can be conveniently compressed through moderate forces.

A adjust in temperature can reason a substance to change state; however this may also be accomplished by a change in pressure. Some substances favor butter and chocolate are lot more complicated to describe because they soften end a variety of temperatures, compared with melt at a single melting point. Gels, colloids, immersions and many other substances defy an easy classification since they contain mixtures of building material in various states end a variety of temperatures.

Critical teaching ideas

The function of classification is to identify objects with common or comparable properties.Solids, liquids and also gases administer a simple way of classifying the state that matter yet they are not the only groupings supplied by scientists.Some substances space very difficult to ‘classify’.Classifying states of matter has actually limitations but can still be useful.A change in temperature can reason a substance to adjust state.

Explore the relationships between ideas about states of issue in the Concept breakthrough Maps: states of Matter

When teaching around changes of state that is essential to emphasise that although a substance has moved from one state to another (for example, melted native a solid come a liquid), that still stays the very same substance. College student frequently think that a readjust of state create a new substance through entirely brand-new properties. This is understandable offered the noticeable differences between the nature of the various states. The selection of teacher language during discussion is necessary in reassuring students the the substance continues to be the same although it appears to law differently.

Some observant students might question why we do not watch frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) in a liquid state. Carbon dioxide transforms from a frozen solid (dry ice is solid listed below -79°C) to a gas (a procedure called sublimation) without appearing to type pools of liquid. This is because it requires a pressure of approximately 60 times typical atmospheric press to stay in the liquid state. College student can consider that together it melts from a solid to a fluid it soon boils to kind a gas. Naphthalene (used come manufacture moth balls) is an additional substance which also sublimes in ~ room temperature.

Teaching activities

Practise using and also build regarded usefulness the a scientific design or idea

Provide tiny groups of students with a variety of usual objects (such as mixed buttons) created of different substances and set them the an obstacle of devising a device of classifying castle in ways which help to identify typical features or properties. Their systems can be based on colour, hardness, whether they room natural, exactly how they feel or how helpful they are. It may be adequate for college student to it is in asked to determine just three usual features for every items in the grouping. Students could draw increase tables, or cut and paste photos onto sheets to team them.

Careful consideration should be provided to picking items with apparent common properties for this task. Through class discussion, target to promote the watch that every one of the attributes used to group the items space correct, however some groupings (systems that classifying) might be an ext helpful than others in identifying beneficial common features.

Open up discussion via common experiences

During course discussions encourage college student to consider a wide variety of perfect contexts i beg your pardon have strong connections come their day-to-day experiences. Consider scenarios for matter an altering states such as dry clothes, melt butter and also dripping icy poles. Target to extend student thinking beyond the typical examples the water, ice water and also water vapour. Comment on melting chocolate, candle wax, sugar and also experiences that some youngsters will have had with frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice).

Use examples of dry ice and naphthalene in a Predict-Observe-Explain (POE) demonstration reflecting that part substances can adjust state indigenous a solid come a gas without coming to be a liquid. Investigate just how students might detect the a gas is being released from both of these solid substances. Students have the right to detect the naphthalene gas by smell. Spoon several dry ice pellets into an north balloon and seal the by tie a knot in the neck. The balloon will inflate together the solid changes into a gas. Alternatively, drop dry ice pellets into a glass the water to see the production of gas bubbles. (Note the the fog produced is no carbon dioxide gas yet tiny fluid droplets that water made clearly shows by the cold gas mixing with moist air. This is a second change that state associated with this phenomenon).

See more: How To Replace Fuel Filter On 1996 Toyota Corolla Fuel Filter Location

Challenge students present ideas

Provide student with complicated to divide substances which challenge their definitions and also force them to inquiry their present understandings of the mechanism of classification. In ~ this level that is appropriate for student to check out that some substances are much more easily handled and also don’t need containers for them to be passed approximately (solids). Part substances are ‘runny’ and also do require open up containers for them to be taken on (liquids) and some can not be handled at all and also require closed containers (gases). As soon as students have arisen a strong understanding the this system of noticeable classification they can be presented with substances which administer greater challenges, such together toothpaste, sand, hair gel, Ooble​k or granulated sugar. Classifying these items will help to difficulty the check out that every substances have the right to be conveniently classified.