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Earth Science
Earth Lab: The Matter



Earth Lab: The Matter
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.74

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    conductivity, subatomic, human-made, composition, silicon, compounds, magnesium, compose, periodic, spite, currently, classify, element, witness, laboratory, atom
     content words:    Earth Lab, Atomic Structure


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Earth Lab: The Matter
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Imagine our planet as one huge chemistry laboratory. What would you expect to find? You won't see Bunsen burners and scientists mixing potions. However, if you look closely, you will find that the materials that make up our planet have specific chemical and physical properties.
 
2     You have already learned that energy and matter move through our Earth system. Matter has properties that can be measured and observed. By observing and measuring matter, scientists can use the information to figure out the types of matter found in other substances. The physical properties of matter can be observed without changing the substance's composition. Think about ice. Ice is only frozen water; when it melts, it is still water, just in a different state. When you study a substance's physical properties, you look at its density, hardness, color, electrical conductivity, freezing point, and boiling point.
 
3     The chemical properties of matter are different. A substance's chemical properties describe how it reacts when combined with other substances. This reaction causes new substances to be produced. For example, on a cold winter night your parents burn a wood log in the fireplace. Once that log is set on fire, you witness one of its chemical properties. The combination of the oxygen, wood, and fire cause the log to eventually become ashes, a new substance. The ashes cannot be turned back into a wood log. Now that you have an idea about chemical and physical properties, let's explore the smaller pieces of substances called elements and atoms.

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