States of Matter (National Curriculum 2014)

Pupils should be taught to: compare and group materials together, according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases

  • observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled, and measure or research the temperature at which this happens in degrees Celsius (°C)
  • identify the part played by evaporation and condensation in the water cycle and associate the rate of evaporation with temperature.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should explore a variety of everyday materials and develop simple descriptions of the states of matter (solids hold their shape; liquids form a pool not a pile; gases escape from an unsealed container). Pupils should observe water as a solid, a liquid and a gas and should note the changes to water when it is heated or cooled.

Note: Teachers should avoid using materials where heating is associated with chemical change, for example, through baking or burning. Pupils might work scientifically by: grouping and classifying a variety of different materials; exploring the effect of temperature on substances such as chocolate, butter, cream (for example, to make food such as chocolate crispy cakes and ice-cream for a party). They could research the temperature at which materials change state, for example, when iron melts or when oxygen condenses into a liquid. They might observe and record evaporation over a period of time, for example, a puddle in the playground or washing on a line, and investigate the effect of temperature on washing drying or snowmen melting.