Materials exist as solids, liquids and gases, and as a mixture of these states. They may be natural or man made and they have different textures and properties. Cartoon animations explain in simple terms why different materials have different properties and how they change on heating and cooling. Other animations cover separating solids from liquids and show what happens to a solid when it dissolves in a liquid. Courtesy of the ABPI.

If you teach primary science, see the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Using evidence from a range of sources to support and refute ideas.
  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group materials together according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.
  • Use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering, sieving and evaporating.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • What the properties and characteristics of solids, liquids and gases are.
  • That objects can be grouped into solids, liquids or gases, according to their properties.
  • That if external conditions remain the same, the shape of a solid will only change if a force is applied.

Suggested activity use

This resource can be used with a whole class when introducing the key ideas behind solids, liquids and gases. It provides a very visual way of showing children the key concepts.

You could also use the resource later in the topic to revisit ideas, or allow children access to the resource and activities to carry out some independent learning.

Practical considerations

The resource is a website so access to a computer and the internet will be necessary. 

This resource works well when paired with a practical investigation to extend children’s learning.

Access to an interactive whiteboard would be beneficial if being used to introduce ideas to a whole class.