In this unit, you will learn about the particle theory of matter. Matter is all of the physical “stuff” in the universe — basically anything with mass and volume. When you were at Miller, you should have learned that matter is made up of tiny particles in constant motion. How these particles move determines whether the matter is a solid, liquid, or gas. Next year, you will learn more about these tiny particles, but for right now, you can think of them as incredibly small, hard spheres whizzing around and bouncing off of one another.
The particle theory of matter is an extremely powerful idea in science. If you understand how the tiny particles that make up matter move and interact, you can understand and predict all kinds of things: from fluid pressure to the gas laws, buoyancy, phase changes, rocketry, heat transfer, and even chemical reactions. For example, by the end of this unit, you should be able to explain in detail how cartesian divers and hot air balloons work.
While we will be focusing primarily on matter when it is in its gas state, next year you will be extending what you have learned in this unit to the study of solids and liquids, convection currents and the Earth's structure, and more advanced concepts in chemistry, ecology, and cell biology.