STEM: Doodle-Ice-Lanterns (States of Matter)

Time Required: Two 45-60 minute sessions
Skill Level: Beginner
Recommended Grades: K to 2nd

In this lesson, students will work in pairs using the 3Doodler to explore states of matter. Students will investigate water as a liquid, solid and a gas as they create ice-lanterns frozen in the natural winter elements outside or in the freezer. The results of this investigation are as beautiful as they are memorable.

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Lesson Plan



A) Create setups of cups, liquid, and glitter for each pair of students before this lesson.

B) Print one Water Observation Sheet for each pair before this lesson.

Step 2

Whole group: Discuss and assess what students know about water in its 3 states, i.e., as a solid, liquid, and a gas.


Where do you see water as a liquid in nature?
Where do you see water as a solid in nature?
Where do you see water as a gas in nature?

Step 3

Review the vocabulary words related to this lesson.

Step 4

Share the goal: In this session, students will work with a partner to doodle an ice-lantern using a 3Doodler, a cup, glitter and water. Ask students what they know about lanterns and what they are used for. Share some images of lanterns to solidify their understanding.

Step 5

Model how to doodle a design for an ice-lantern. Doodle connecting lines all around the outside of a paper cup. Note that all of the lines must connect. After the lines harden, gently lift them off the cup for students to observe.

Step 6

Combine glitter and water in a 2nd paper cup. Mix with a spoon or a stir stick. Have students observe and discuss what happens to the glitter. (It floats to the top.) Pour the water and glitter into the plastic cup.

Step 7

Place the doodled design back on the 1st paper cup (it is good if the design fits loosely). Place the paper cup with the doodled design inside the plastic cup and weigh it down with stones or small heavy objects, so that the paper cup bottom rests at the bottom of the plastic cup.

Step 8

With a marker, draw a line to show the water level on the outside of the plastic cup. Then freeze it outside if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, place in a freezer.

Step 9

Project your tablet or computer screen on the board. Display the Water Observation Sheet. Instruct students to complete the Water Observation Sheet with their partner at selected times during this activity to record their observations.

Step 10

Hand out the 3Doodlers along with the other materials, i.e., cups, water, glitter, spoons, and the Water Observation Sheets.

Step 11

Circle to assist and assess.

Step 12

Once they are all completed, please the students' ice lanterns in the freezer or outside if it is cold enough. Once frozen, peel off the cups to reveal the ice-lantern. Place them over a flameless LED to light them up.

Wrap Up

Have pairs display and present their ice-lanterns in their frozen states. Discuss the observations: How did the level of the water change? (Frozen water expands.) What happened to the glitter? (Most of it is still at the top.) Share the Doodled-Ice-Lanterns on Twitter. @3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU Complete this investigation by observing what happens when the ice-lanterns melt, and then when the same water is heated (by the teacher) using a hot plate and metal pan. Then refreeze ice-lanterns.


The teacher will assess the students by evaluating their written and oral responses throughout this activity.

Possible Extensions

Students will illustrates the cause and effect of modifying the temperature of water. The modifications will result in a solid, liquid, and gas. Students will create ice-lanterns using food coloring to explore how adding color affects the outcome or the effects of mixing colors, e.g., red and yellow to make orange.


  • collaboration - to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

  • cooling - become or cause to become less hot.

  • freeze - (of a liquid) be turned into ice or another solid as a result of extreme cold.

  • gas - an airlike fluid substance which expands freely to fill any space available, irrespective of its quantity.

  • heating - make or become hot or warm.

  • ice - frozen water, a brittle, transparent crystalline solid.

  • liquid - a substance that flows freely but is of constant volume, having a consistency like that of water or oil.

  • melt - make or become liquefied by heat.

  • problem-solving - the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.

  • snow - a precipitation in the form of ice crystals, mainly of intricately branched, hexagonal form and often agglomerated into snowflakes, formed directly from the freezing of the water vapor in the air.

  • solid - firm and stable in shape; not liquid or fluid.

  • states of matter - Matter can exist in one of three main states: solid, liquid, or gas. Solid matter is composed of tightly packed particles. A solid will retain its shape; the particles are not free to move around. Liquid matter is made of more loosely packed particles.

  • temperature - the degree or intensity of heat present in a substance or object, especially as expressed according to a comparative scale and shown by a thermometer or perceived by touch.

  • water - a colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms.

  • water cycle - the cycle of processes by which water circulates between the earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.

Educational Standards

Common Core

Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

In This Lesson

Students will draw upon prior knowledge about the properties of water and use that information to answer specific questions during this activity.

Common Core

Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

In This Lesson

Students will discuss the properties of water.

Common Core

Build on others' talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.

In This Lesson

Students will build on the talk of others during the whole group and partner work throughout this project.

Next Gen Science

Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different types of materials by their observable properties.

In This Lesson

Students will compare and contrast the properties of water as a liquid, solid and a gas while making ice lanterns.

Next Gen Science
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

Different kinds of matter exist and many of them can be either solid or liquid, depending on temperature. Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties.

In This Lesson

Students will observe water and its properties as a solid, liquid, and a gas.

Next Gen Science
PS1.B: Chemical Reactions

Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed. Sometimes these changes are reversible, and sometimes they are not. (2-PS1-4)

In This Lesson

Students will freeze, melt and refreeze water to investigate whether changes to a property of matter, i.e., water, are reversible.

CS Teachers

Decompose (break down) a larger problem into smaller sub-problems with teacher guidance or independently.

In This Lesson

Students will break down the process of exploring the properties of water into a hands-on activity involving doodling a design, immersing it into water, freezing the object, melting it, and then refreezing it.


Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

In This Lesson

Students will use a 3Doodler to create an immersive element that will interact with water in its three states, i.e., solid, liquid, and gas.


Create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

In This Lesson

Students will doodle original designs for their ice-lanterns.


Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

In This Lesson

Students will work with a partner and peers throughout all phases of this activity.

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