Basic Science Notes

Matter: Identification and Classification


Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space.

Matter can be living things such as plants and animals, it can also be non- living things e.g. stones, tables, spoons, papers, etc.

NOTE:  Living things are matters that have life in them, while non- living things are matter that have no life in them.


  1. What is matter?
  2. Give two main classifications of matter with four examples each.


Matter can be identified based on the following criteria

1.Life in them  2. Colour  3. Size  4.Shape  5. Taste

The above are properties of matter which can be used to identify them.

            Let’s take SUGAR and IRON as examples.

Sugar is a white crystalline solid which dissolves in water and tastes sweet, while IRON is metallic lustre. It can get rusted in the presence moisture and gives reddish deposit.


  1. List five properties of matter by which they can be identified
  2. Give five examples of matter in your environment that can be identified by using colour.


Matter can exist in three states, namely:

1. Solid             2. Liquid                 3. Gas

The fundamental difference between these three states of matter is the degree of movement of their particles.


  1. The particles are  closely packed and held firmly together by forces of cohesion.
  2. The force of cohesion determines the strength of restriction of movement of particles.
  3. The particles can only vibrate and rotate about a fixed position.
  4. Solids have definite shape and are difficult to compress.


  1. The particles are slightly further apart than in solids.
  2. The particles vibrate, rotate and translate.
  3. Their movement are restricted.
  4. They have volume but have no definite shape, instead assume the shape of the container in which they are placed.
  5. Liquid are difficult to compress.


  1. The particles are further spaced apart than in liquid.
  2. The particles vibrate, rotate and translate with more particles.
  3. The particles are free to move in all directions at great speed.
  4. The particles are restricted by the wall of the container.
  5. Gases have no definite shape.
  6. They occupy the whole volume of their container.
  7. Gases are easily compressed.


  1. Name the three states of matter.
  2. State three properties for each of the states of matter.


Matter is made up of discrete particles. When a substance is heated, its particles acquire more kinetic energy, while when cooled; they lose kinetic energy and become less energetic. Matter can change its state when heated to a particular temperature. Change of state is brought about by heating or cooling. A given substance can exist as solid, liquid and gas.

The main particles of matter are:

  1. Atom
  2. Molecules
  3. Ions


  1. State four properties of solid, liquid and gas.
  2. What are the particles of matter?




  1. Name the three states of matter.
  2. State three properties for each of the states of matter.
  3. What are the particles of matter?
  4. Give two main classifications of matter with four examples each.


  1. Matter can broadly be classified into——–and ———–[a] monkey and birds [b] living things and non-living things [c] living things and man [d] non-living things and table.
  2. Examples of living things are the following except———–[a] bird [b] goat [c] grass [d] plastics
  3. All of the following can be compressed except———– [a] oxygen [b] hydrogen [c] carbon dioxide [d] water
  4. In which of the following is the kinetic energy of particles of matter is greatest? [a] gas [b] liquid [c] solid [d] stone
  5. The process whereby a substance in solid state changes directly to gaseous state is known as———— [a] freezing [b] sublimation [c] melting [d] cooling


  1. In  a tabular form, give four differences between solid, liquid and gaseous substances.
  2. Write briefly on atom, molecules and ions.

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