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Computer Lab: States of Matter

Learning Goals.
Students will be able to:
1. Describe differences and similarities between solids, liquids and gases on a molecular level.
2. Explain gas pressure using the Kinetic Theory.
3. Determine processes you could use to make solids, liquids and gases change phases.
4. Compare and contrast the behavior of the 4 substances in the simulation and use their
understanding about molecules to explain their observations.

Assessment criteria.
Criterion A: Knowing and understanding
Students should be able to:
i. Describe scientific knowledge
ii. Apply scientific knowledge and understanding to solve problems set in familiar and unfamiliar
iii. Analyze information to make scientifically supported judgments.

Criterion B: Inquiring and designing

Students should be able to:
i. Describe a problem or question to be tested by a scientific investigation
ii. Outline a testable hypothesis and explain it using scientific reasoning
iii. Describe how to manipulate the variables, and describe how data will be collected
IV. Design scientific investigations.

Criterion C: Processing and evaluating

Students should be able to:
i. present collected and transformed data
ii. Interpret data and describe results using scientific reasoning
iii. Discuss the validity of a hypothesis based on the outcome of the scientific investigation
iv. Discuss the validity of the method
V. describe improvements or extensions to the method.

In class, we have already taken a look at states of matter.
1. Before you start please write the different states of matter you can recall.

2. Please, research and write a paragraph about the Kinetic Molecular Theory (KMT) or Kinetic
Particle Theory (KPT). What is it? What it states?

Today, you will put it into practice using an online simulation that will use Neon, Water, Oxygen
and Argon. You will see how each changes from one state to another.

Procedure I
1. Log into your computer
2. Click here to go to the simulation website.
3. You will need to have Java in your computer to run this simulation. You can download it here for
free. If you already have Java click download and then run.
4. Take a moment to explore the site so that you know what each button does.
5. Be sure that solid, liquid, gas is clicked at the top left.
6. Go to the teacher menu and select the Temperature in degrees Celsius.
7. Start off with solids of each substance at the right.
8. Change the temperature up or down by adding fire or ice.
9. Record what happens in the chart provided (any observation, what you see as a scientist).


Substance Increasing Temp. Decreasing Temp.

Neon Molecules expand. Molecules compact and

are nearly still

Argon Molecules expand Molecules compact and

dont move

Oxygen Molecules expand Molecules compact

Water Molecules expand Molecules compact but

they are still moving.

Procedure II
Use the simulation to complete the following chart for temperatures of the different states of
each substance.

Substance Solid Temp Liquid Temp Gas Temp

Argon 43 k 86 k 189 k

Neon 13 k 26 k 55 k

Oxygen 31 k 69 k 164 k

Water 157 k 328 k 809 k

1. What happened to the speed of the particles in this lab as you increased the temperature
They move very fast and all over the container they are in.
2. Do your findings agree with the Kinetic Molecular Theory? Explain.
Kinetic molecular theory shows how individual gas particles interact with one another, so I
guess that our project does make reference to this theory because depending on the
temperature the molecules change and as the theory says they do interact with each
3. So, based on the results of this activity, what are some differences and similarities between the
states of solids, liquids and gases on a molecular level?
Differences: not all the particles communicate in the same mode, they change depending of
the temperature but its true that not all the elements particles move at the same rhythm
and have the same compact form.
Similitudes: all the molecules change depending on the temperature, when the temperature
decreases the particles move slower and are more compact and when the temperature
increases the molecules disperse.

Going Further. Design an experiment.

Question: How can we make a substance change its state of matter?
1. Write a hypothesis.
If we cool water the molecules will compact so much that theyll become solid. And if
we worm up water the molecules will disperse and become gas.

2. Design a simple experiment in which you have to use the simulation, try to change the phase of
one of the substances.
In the simulator we can add fire or introduce things in a fridge.
3. What are the variables in this experiment?
CONTROLED VARIABLE: in this case the controlled variable will be the container
where you realize your project. The amount of the products you use. MNIPULATED
VARIABLE: the manipulated variable would be the objects or liquids you use, but
temperature is the most important. RESPONDING VARIABLE: if you change the
liquids or products the molecules will be different, they will need a different
temperature to get to the solidification or evaporation, this depends in the
temperature mainly.
4. Write the procedure you will follow.
We will start selecting the water molecules. Then we select the fire option and we wait
until we see the results. After that, we write our observations. Then we select the ice
option. We wait until we see some results and we write them down.
5. See if you can use similar procedures on all the materials. Make a data table that shows the
tests and results to demonstrate that you have enough evidence to support ideas you have
about how to make a substance change phase.
Solid Liquid Gas

Argon With cold It solidifies With cold and heat, it With heat it becomes gas
becomes liquid
Neon With cold It solidifies With cold and heat, it With heat it becomes gas
becomes liquid
Oxygen With cold It solidifies With cold and heat, it With heat it becomes gas
becomes liquid
Water With cold It solidifies With cold and heat, it With heat it becomes gas
becomes liquid

6. Write a summary of your results.

To do this experiment we used a simulator of how do molecules move depending on
the temperature they have. We got to the conclusion that every time the temperature
decreases the molecules compact, and if they get under 0 they become solid. Even
though some molecules do this slower they reach the solidification. If we increase the
temperature the molecules will expand and over 100 they become gas.
Going Further. Write a hypothesis based on observations.
On the same page, click on the Phase Changes tab at the top left. Play with the simulation and
try to write a hypothesis answering this question: What is the relationship between pressure,
temperature and the state of matter?