Molecules Matter

An inquiry lesson allowing students to explore the movement of water molecules and the attraction they have to each other.   The lesson is broken down using the 5 E instructional model and includes video clips and a student activity sheet. This website addresses the movement and arrangement of atoms in a liquid.  Students will see how water molecules are attracted, which will lead to later discusions of chemical bonding. Students discuss the meaning of “chemistry” and “matter”. Students investigate a drop of water hanging from a dropper and drops of water beading up on wax paper. They also look at a molecular animation that models the motion of water molecules. Students are introduced to the idea that matter is made up of extremely tiny particles that are attracted to one another.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0807.9.1
Understand that all matter is made up of atoms.
GLE 0807.9.2
Explain that matter has properties that are explained by the structure and arrangement of its atoms.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 


Students will describe their observations about water on the molecular level using the idea that water is composed of tiny molecules that are attracted to one another.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


  • Show a video so that students can see an example that water molecules are attracted to one another.
  • If you have time, give students the opportunity to play games with drops of water.

Helpful Hints

Materials for Each Group:

  • Water in small cup
  • Dropper
  • 2 popsicle sticks
  • Wax paper
  • 2 large index cards (5 × 8”)
  • Tape

Materials for the Demonstration:

  • Tall clear plastic cup
  • Water (room temperature)
  • White sheet of paper
  • Food coloring (red, blue, or green)