How Matter Changes

Changes in matter happen around you every day. Some changes make matter look different. Other changes make one kind of matter become another kind of matter.

When you scrunch a sheet of paper up into a ball, it is still paper. It only changed shape. You can cut a large, rectangular piece of paper into many small triangles. It changed shape and size, but it is still paper. These kinds of changes are called physical changes.

Physical changes are changes in the way matter looks. Changes in size and shape, like the changes in the cut pieces of paper, are physical changes. Physical changes are changes in the size, shape, state, or appearance of matter.

Another kind of physical change happens when matter changes from one state to another state. When water freezes and makes ice, it is still water. It has only changed its state of matter from a liquid to a solid. It has changed its appearance and shape, but it is still water. You can change the ice back into water by letting it melt. Matter looks different when it changes states, but it stays the same kind of matter.

Solids like ice can change into liquids. Heat speeds up the moving particles in ice. The particles move apart. Heat melts ice and changes it to liquid water. Metals can be changed from a solid to a liquid state also. Metals must be heated to a high temperature to melt. Melting is changing from a solid state to a liquid state.

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