What's the Matter?

Solids, liquids and gases

Early Stage 1


identifies ways that everyday materials can be physically changed and combined for a particular purpose


Objects are made of materials that have observable properties. (ACSSU003)
  • observe, using their senses, a range of materials used to make specific objects, products, places and spaces
  • group a range of materials on the basis of observable properties, eg flexibility, texture, strength and colour

What's it Made of? Foundation Year (Primary Connections)

All around us are things made from interesting materials that have observable properties. Who would once have imagined things like CDs, self-adhesive notes or floppy silicone ovenware? Materials that we now take for granted are the products of imagination and exploratory science. What new materials will be part of the world of the future and how might existing materials be used in new ways? What might materials allow us to make and do?

The What’s it made of? unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. Through investigations, students develop skills of observing, describing, comparing and communicating. The unit provides opportunities for students to explore, through hands-on activities, what things are made of in the school environment and the properties of the materials used to make them.


Stage 1


identifies ways that everyday materials can be physically changed and combined for a particular purpose


Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways. (ACSSU018)
  • explore how some everyday materials can be physically changed by actions, eg bending, twisting, stretching, squashing or heating
  • Different materials can be combined, including by mixing, for a particular purpose. (ACSSU031)
  • predict the changes materials will undergo when they are combined, eg sugar in water or different colours of paint; and when they are mixed, eg sand and water or cake ingredients
  • compare their observations with their predictions when materials are combined and mixed
  • explore examples of how people at home and work change and combine different materials for a particular purpose, eg food preparation and making concrete

Spot the Difference- Year 1 (Primary Connections)

Changes are happening all around us. Chocolate melts in the sun, water evaporates from puddles and cement hardens in the open air. Predicting the changes that can happen to everyday materials is important in understanding the best way to manage things such as, food handling and cooking, construction and packaging.

The Spot the difference unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. By observing change, students glimpse the diversity of materials in their world. Students explore change through the context of food including spaghetti, chocolate and popcorn.

Students learn about how heating or cooling a food can change its properties and whether the change can be reversed or not. An investigation about which type of chocolate melts the fastest will help students draw conclusions about how fast or slow changes can happen and the consequences of change.


All Mixed Up- Year 2

We are surrounded by mixtures — the air we breathe, the food we eat and drink, and our personal grooming products. Chefs try mixing ingredients in different ways to make tasty combinations and interesting textures. Through inquiry, scientists have developed mixtures that are useful for all kinds of purposes, such as alloys, amalgams and paints, to name but a few. Indeed, it can be surprising just how many things that we take for granted every day are the result of inquiry into mixtures. For example, how different our lives would be without the myriad of inks, glues and detergents at our disposal.

The All mixed up unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. Students learn about materials that don’t mix well, and others that are difficult to separate. Through hands-on investigations, students explore how changing the quantities of materials in a mixture can alter its properties and uses.


Stage 2


identifies that adding or removing heat causes a change of state between solids and liquids


A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat. (ACSSU046)
  • describe some everyday situations where solids and liquids change state by adding heat (heating) or removing heat (cooling)
  • predict and observe the effects of adding heat or removing heat on a variety of everyday solids and/or liquids, eg butter, chocolate and water
  • describe how scientific knowledge about the effects of heating and cooling is used by people in their everyday life, eg the types of clothes worn, the packaging and preparation of food and everyday devices, eg freezers, irons or cooktops

Melting Moments- Year 3

Every day we see or use things that have been melted or frozen, heated or cooled. All around us are items that we find both useful and attractive that have been moulded into different shapes using heating and cooling. These can range from cast iron frying pans and plastic rubbish bins to chocolate bilbies. Understanding the properties of materials and how they change state under different conditions can help materials scientists to develop even more extraordinary products to help improve our quality of life.

The Melting moments unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. While exploring how solids or liquids are influenced by temperature, students experience the way items from their everyday lives can change. Through hands-on investigations, students investigate how the size of the pieces affects the melting time of chocolate.


Material World- Year 4

New materials have revolutionised modern life. Plastics have been used instead of glass in bottles and windows, and even instead of metals in aeroplanes. Lighter, stronger, warmer fabrics have made extreme weather conditions more comfortable. Designers incorporate new materials in clothes and bags to better suit our needs. Materials scientists are now researching materials that have desirable properties but have less impact on the environment.

The Material world unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. This unit provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of the properties of materials and how they relate to use. Through investigations, students explore how to test the properties of materials fairly and how to use this knowledge to choose materials wisel


Solids and Liquids and how they can be separated

Stage 3


identifies the observable properties of solids, liquids and gases, and that changes made to materials are reversible or irreversible


Solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways. (ACSSU077)
  • observe and compare the differences in the properties and behaviour of solids and liquids, eg shape and ability to flow
  • demonstrate that air has mass and takes up space, eg in an inflated basketball, bubbles, balloons and beaten egg white
  • Changes to materials can be reversible, such as melting, freezing, evaporating; or irreversible, such as burning and rusting.(ACSSU095)
  • Students:
  • observe and describe some readily observable reversible changes that materials can undergo, eg by melting and then solidifying chocolate, and dissolving and retrieving salt or sugar from water
  • make and test predictions about the effect of temperature on the state of some substances, eg adding and removing heat from water
  • observe some irreversible changes that common materials undergo to identify that the changes may result in new materials or products, eg rusting iron, burning paper, cooking a cake and making toffee
  • classify some observable changes that materials undergo as reversible or irreversible

What's the Matter- Year 5

Matter is all around us. It can be as small as the particles that make up the tiniest cell in our skin or as large as the whole galaxy. Anything that takes up space and has mass is called matter.

The matter that we experience every day and the matter that we are made of is only a tiny fraction of the matter that exists in the universe. By investigating and understanding matter, scientists are able to find out more about the universe and its possibilities.

The What’s the matter? unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom.

Through hands-on investigations, students explore the properties of solids, liquids and

gases, and plan and conduct an investigation of how the properties of materials change

with temperature.


Change Detectives- Year 6

What makes things change and what affects how fast they change? Why do some things burn more fiercely, rust more quickly or smell more strongly? The whole world is made up of particles that are constantly moving and reacting with one another in fascinating ways. Science seeks to understand why and how substances change, and this has led to advances in everything from food preservation to fire control.

The Change detectives unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom.

It provides opportunities for students to explore melting, evaporating, dissolving,burning and chemical reactions. Students’ understanding of the factors that influence the rate of change will be developed through hands-on activities and student-planned investigations. Students become detectives who identify and explain physical and chemical changes in everyday materials.