Four of the States of Matter

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This kinesthetic science demonstration introduces learners to four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. In this activity, learners take on the roles as human atoms to demonstrate the way matter behaves in different states as well as how the addition of energy transforms matter from one state to another. This is one of 5 activities associated with the NASA mission IBEX, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, which is making a map of the Solar System's boundary.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • "negative charge" tags for half of learners (see template in PDF)
  • "positive charge" tags for half of learners (see template in PDF)
  • yarn
  • hole-punch
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • room for people to move around


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Energy
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, NASA,

Funding Source:

  • NASA