Gerlynn got students to classify items into three categories: matter, non-matter and not sure. She then asked them why they categorised some items as matter and not others.

Their initial theories of matter were:

  • “matter is anything that has mass and occupies space” (definition from the textbook)
  • “matter is something that you can touch and see”
  • “matter has weight”
  • “you can see the three types of matter, solid, liquid and gas”