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published by the Concord Consortium
In this interactive activity, students view six models to investigate what a gas, liquid, and solid look like at the atomic level. Choose to view a gas or liquid made of atoms only, a gas made of diatomic molecules, a liquid made of triatomic molecules, or two types of solids. In each simulation, users may highlight an atom and view its trajectory to see how the motion differs in each of the three primary phases. Don't miss the extension activity: a side-by-side comparison of the atomic structure of a hot liquid and a cold liquid. If you click "Withdraw the Barrier", the two liquids mix. Which state of matter has stronger attractions between atoms?

This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. The Concord Consortium develops deeply digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering.

Please note that this resource requires Java.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
= Atomic Models
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
- High School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
= Model
= Problem/Problem Set
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- General Publics
- application/java
- text/html
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© 2006 The Concord Consortium
atom simulations, atomic simulations, atomic structure, atomic/molecular, collection, molecular simulations, molecular structure, molecule simulations
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 10, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 10, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
  • 6-8: 4D/M1cd. Atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
  • 6-8: 4D/M3ab. Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. Increased temperature means greater average energy of motion, so most substances expand when heated.
  • 6-8: 4D/M3cd. In solids, the atoms or molecules are closely locked in position and can only vibrate. In liquids, they have higher energy, are more loosely connected, and can slide past one another; some molecules may get enough energy to escape into a gas. In gases, the atoms or molecules have still more energy and are free of one another except during occasional collisions.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2006), WWW Document, (
Concord Consortium: States of Matter (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2006), <>.
APA Format
Concord Consortium: States of Matter. (2006). Retrieved July 20, 2024, from The Concord Consortium:
Chicago Format
The Concord Consortium. Concord Consortium: States of Matter. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2006. (accessed 20 July 2024).
MLA Format
Concord Consortium: States of Matter. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2006. 20 July 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Concord Consortium: States of Matter}, Publisher = {The Concord Consortium}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {20 July 2024}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%T Concord Consortium: States of Matter %D 2006 %I The Concord Consortium %C Concord %U %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D 2006 %T Concord Consortium: States of Matter %I The Concord Consortium %V 2024 %N 20 July 2024 %9 application/java %U

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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Concord Consortium: States of Matter:

Is Associated With Concord Consortium: Melting Ice

This is a related hands-on lab by the same authors, appropriate for grades 7-10, which complements the States of Matter computer models. Both resources were developed by Concord Consortium partners.

relation by Caroline Hall

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