Chemical and Physical Changes

Contributor: Alison Weiss. Lesson ID: 10586

What's the matter? You are! And so is everything else! Everything, even you, is made of matter. Matter changes, like melting ice or toasting bread. Using videos and experiments, learn about matter!



learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Have you ever toasted (and eaten!) a marshmallow? Yum! Have you ever tried to un-toast a marshmallow, fix a melted crayon, or bend a paper clip back into shape? Could you?

Matter is everything that you can see around you.

It can be anything that has mass (weight) and takes up physical space. A stick is matter, and so is a marshmallow! Did you know that all matter can be changed?

Matter can be changed physically or chemically.

A physical change takes place when the form or shape of the matter is changed. Physical changes can be caused by motion, temperature, or even pressure! Usually physical changes to matter are reversible. That means you can undo the change.

Chemical changes to matter happen when the molecules in the matter change. Molecules are the smallest amount of a substance. Usually when a chemical change takes place, it is impossible or very difficult to reverse. There are some clues to chemical changes including color changes, the formation of gas, and the appearance of light or heat.

For example, roasting a marshmallow over the fire is actually a chemical change because you are actually cooking the marshmallow!

To learn more about the types of changes molecules and atoms go through, watch Chemical and Physical Changes from Mark Drollinger: 



  1. Watch this Scholastic Inc. video titled Physical & Chemical Changes of Matter:

  2. Visit Scholastic's Physical & Chemical Changes of Matter site to Test Yourself. Have fun!
  3. Now with your parent or teacher go through the online activity titled Reversible and irreversible changes (BBC).

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.