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)

    Organise an exhibition displaying diverse natural and synthetic materials for students to observe and touch. During discussions, emphasise distinctions between samples with definite shapes and those without.

    View Resource


  • 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) 757-786.

    This research paper shows that students hold a wide range of misconceptions about matter and in particular they do not understand how particles behave during changes. The static representations of particles in textbooks do not help this situation. It is critical that students understand the particle model before they try to explain changes in state and chemical reactions.

    Paper digest

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