Matter is all around you. Everything around you is matter. A person. An apple. A table. Water. Paper. The list goes on and on. Matter means anything that has mass and volume. But this opens doors to other questions. What is mass? What is volume?
Mass is the amount of matter (or “stuff”) inside of an object. Think of it this way. A balloon has very little mass. But a building has a lot of mass. Be careful though, there is a difference between mass and weight. Mass measures the “stuff” inside of an object. Weight refers to the measure of gravity’s pull on an object. In other words, it determines how heavy something is. This is why you would weigh much lighter on the moon because the moon has less gravity.
Volume refers to the amount of SPACE that something takes up. When we say something is big, small, tiny, long, all of these words describe something’s VOLUME. For example, a coin has a small volume because it takes up only a small amount of space. But, a textbook has a larger volume because it takes up a lot of space.
Different states of matter fill spaces in different ways. For example, water fills volume in a different way than a textbook does, right? So, what are the different states of matter?
There are three basic states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Solid is a state of matter that keeps its shape. Think about a textbook or a table. Liquid is a state of matter that takes the shape of its container. Think about water in a container. It takes the shape of the container, right? Gas is a state of matter that fills its container. Think about water vapor or steam or even air all around us. It doesn’t have a shape like water, but it fills the entire space around!
Let’s take water as an example. Water can be in solid form as an ice cube! Also, water can be in liquid form, which is what we are most used to seeing! But, water can also be seen in gas form, which you can see if you were to heat or boil water. The water evaporates and becomes water vapor, the gaseous form of water.