From Gas to Liquid to Solid

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What causes frost to form on the outside of a cold container? In this activity, learners discover that liquid water can change states and freeze to become ice. This can be used as a follow-up lesson to the activity, "Exploring Moisture on the Outside of a Cold Cup" (see related resource), in which learners observed water vapor (a gas) condensing to form liquid water on the surface of a cold cup. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

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, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Ice
  • Salt
  • Clean empty metal can
  • Metal spoon
  • Paper towel
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Student Activity Sheet
  • Goggles
  • Pliers
  • Duct tape


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kessler, James H. ; Galvan, Patricia M.


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2007