Some students hold the idea that all atoms in a solid are arranged in a grid pattern

Properties of Matter


Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.

For more information, see the University of York BEST website.

Resources to address this

  • Examples of solids, liquids and gases (11-16)

    Ref - Practical Physics; Molecules in motion; Evidence for atoms; Examples of solids, liquids and gases

    An exhibition of a wide variety of natural and synthetic materials for students to look at and handle.  As  part of the discussion highlight the differences between sample with definate shapes and those without.

    View Resource


The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • Adbo, K. and Taber, K. S., () Learners' Mental Models of the Particle Nature of Matter: A study of 16-year-old Swedish science students, International Journal of Science Education, 31 (6)


    Review sheet

Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today