Matter is all around us. Matter is the air you are breathing. Matter is the computer you are reading from now. Matter is the stuff you touch and see. And it is more. Matter is defined as anything that has mass and takes up space. Matter is found in 3 major states; solid, liquid and gas.

So what is matter made of? All matter is made of atoms. Atoms are the smallest particle of matter. They are so small that you cannot see them with your eyes or even with a standard microscope. A standard sheet of paper is about a million atoms thick. Science has come up with a technology to identify atoms called a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) which uses electricity to map atoms. There is more about atoms later, but first let's learn about the three states of matter.


Matter that is composed of atoms packed tightly together are known as solids. You cannot walk through a solid wall. The matter is packed so tight that it prevents you from moving through it. Solids hold their shape at room temperature. The pencil that you left in the desk at school will still be the same shape when you return tomorrow.
Even in solids there is a small space between the atoms. Depending on how tight the atoms are packed determines the density of matter. This means that a one inch block of wood is not as dense as a one inch block of gold. There is more space between the atoms of the wood than the atoms of the gold.

Liquids do not hold their shape at room temperature. There is space between the atoms of a liquid and they move slightly all of the time. This allows you to stick your finger into water and pull it back out, letting the water fill back in where your finger once was. But when walking through the water in the swimming pool, you have to push the water out of the way ‐ this means that you feel the heaviness of the water. Liquids flow or pour and can take on the shape of a container. If the liquid is poured into a wider or narrower container, the liquid...

Similar Essays