13 Physical Changes

by Deb on October 14, 2010


A while ago I briefly mentioned physical and chemical changes.  I’ve actually written about lots of physical changes, but here I’ve pulled together some suggestions for playing with them – a simple definition is that they are the ones that can be undone.

  1. Dissolving – A great fun one to play with, there are so many common things that dissolve.  Start with salt, sugar and cordial.
  2. Melting – It’s easy to watch with something like ice, but around here the butter is melting quickly too!  We’ve learnt all about separation lately.
  3. Freezing – Iceblocks are hugely popular just on their own, but some of our favourites are homemade frozen yoghurt or yoghurt/milk and fruit/milk icypoles.
  4. EvaporatingThis is another one we’re learning about now, with calcium marks left in every drying puddle.  But it’s more fun to make crystals.
  5. Boiling – All those bubbles are the liquid changing into a gas.
  6. Subliming – This one is cool but difficult to do at home, it is when something goes directly from solid to gas without being a liquid.  Dry ice Erosionmakes that wonderful smoke because it is frozen carbon dioxide subliming.  I’m sure there will be lots of this happening towards the end of the month.
  7. Erosion – There is both chemical and physical erosion, it’s fascinating how wind, water and friction shape the landscape around us.
  8. Heating – Things don’t always melt or boil when you heat them but they still change.  Think about incandescent light bulbs or bar heaters.
  9. Distilling – A very special type of boiling, this is when you boil a mixture and the different parts boil at different temperatures.  If you collect the steam at the right temperature, it separates whatever you are after.  This is how things like essential oils are collected from flowers.
  10. Drying – Sort of the opposite of evaporating, or the same process from the other side – the liquid evaporates and the solid left behind has dried.
  11. Crushing – Or grinding, or smoothing.  They are all changes in the surface area and texture that can affect how things work.  Generally things mix better when they are crushed, or have less friction if they are smooth.butter and buttermilk
  12. Mixing – What would cooking be without mixing?  Or glue? Or bread? Or colours?
  13. Separating – The opposite of mixing is just as important, very few things come pure and they need to be separated to be used, or to find out what is in them.

Lots of ideas there 🙂

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Hear Mum Roar October 14, 2010 at 9:33 am

So many great learning opportunities here:)


Rekaya October 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I agree Hear Mum Roar; I definitely learned something. Thank you.

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Adelle Laudan October 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Science was my worst subject in school. These sounds pretty interesting though. Happy T13!


sandy October 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

subliming – new to me sandy
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Deb October 25, 2010 at 11:38 pm

It’s one of my favourites – such a nice word, and to see the dry ice steaming into carbon dioxide is fun.


Xakara October 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Awesome ideas. Makes me wish I had a little one in the house again 🙂

Happy TT,



CountryDew October 14, 2010 at 9:09 pm

If someone had made math and science this interesting when I was young, maybe I would like it more now as an adult! Nice job.
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Harriet October 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Brings back memories of science fair days for my kids.

Have a great Thursday!


Maria October 15, 2010 at 5:50 am

I remember doing a project in grade school involving physical and chemical changes. Thanks for bringing back a fun memory.
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Alice Audrey October 15, 2010 at 6:06 am

I’m still thinking through the undoing part.


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