States of Matter: Liquids

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11756

What shape is water, or milk, or melted ice cream? What shape are these liquids when you put them into containers? When you spill them (by accident, of course!)? Find out with a scientific experiment!


Physical Science

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Is the apple juice above a solid, liquid, or gas?
  • What about an apple?
  • Do they feel different?

Everything on the earth is made up of matter.

Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass.

  • Did you remember this from the previous Related Lessons, found in the right-hand sidebar?

The apple juice you saw in the beginning of the lesson is a liquid.

  • Do you see the apple in the picture, too?
  • Is it a solid or liquid?

Any object that is a liquid has atoms. Atoms and molecules (collections of atoms) make up everything on the earth. The picture below shows the atoms and molecules in a liquid object.

The atoms and molecules in liquids stay close together, but not so close they can't move. Liquid atoms and molecules move around and bounce off of each other.

  • Why do you think the atoms and molecules in a liquid object move around?

Think about what happens to liquids if you put them in a container or spill them.

states of matter

The atoms and molecules stay close together and move around in liquid objects because liquids change their shape.

Think of a time you poured a drink into a glass. The liquid (drink) you poured takes the shape of the glass. If you were to knock over the glass, the liquid would flow in different directions.

Take a look at the cup below. The coffee spilled out of the cup and the liquid flowed away:

spilled coffee

Liquids flow easily, especially on surfaces that have a slope.

  • Can you think of some examples of liquids?

Move on to the Got It? section to explore the liquid state of matter some more by watching a video and answering questions.

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