Lesson Four: The Structures of Matter

What makes matter matter? In this Fly By, we delve into the fact that everything that exists consists of matter. What is matter? Why does it matter? Learn about the structures of matter how you can identify them. 




Objectives: Understanding the structure of matter

  • Identify materials based on their properties
  • Understand that matter is made up of smaller particles

Methodology: The recommended program includes:

  • Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum’s Fly-By, Structure of Matter
  • Hands-on demonstration

Learning Questions: How can we observe the effects of matter being made up of particles too small to see? How can we explore the ways materials interact differently based on their properties?

Next Generation Science Standards:

  • 5-PS1-1: Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
  • 5-PS1-3: Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.


Matter is what makes up everything in the world. We can tell some differences between materials by observing them, but matter can be different down to the microscopic structure. Matter is made of tiny particles way too small to see with the eye, and the structure of those particles is what differentiates one thing from another. If you can't tell the difference between two materials by sight or touch alone, try observing how the materials react to other things. Mixing materials with liquids is a great method of discovering their differences.


  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Sugar (1 tsp)
  • Baking soda (1 tsp)
  • Three small cups of water
  • Three small cups of vinegar

30 minutes


Separate one teaspoon of the different powders. Despite the fact that they are all white powders, they have different properties. Explore the different properties. Ask questions like:

  • How do the powders feel differently?
  • Do they have different hardness?
  • Are the bits that make them up different in any ways?

Prepare three small cups of water. What happens if you mix the different powders with the different cups of water? Do they all dissolve the same way? Do the powders all react the same way when mixed with vinegar as they do when mixed with water? What does this tell you about the powders?

Questions to Answer in this week’s Fly-By:

  • What are some different properties you can name for the different powders, besides color?
  • What are other safe ways you can tell the difference between different powders or liquids?

Got something to say? We want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment:

Let us know your thoughts on this post but remember to play nicely folks!

Your Name:

Your Email Address:


2000 characters remaining


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable