What is Matter?

Anything that takes up room anywhere in the universe is called "mater". Matter may also be "organic" or "in organic". Human beings, trees, animals and flowers are examples of organic matter. Lumber, cotton and woolen clotc, and breakfast cereal are also organic matter, for they were once part of something alive.

Things that are not living, or where never alive, such as iron, tin, glass and water, are inorganic matter. All matter is put together in very much the same way. All matter regardless of what form it is in, is built of "atoms’". And atoms are made up of still smaller things called "electrons". Electrons are tiny, always moving sparks of pure electricity.

Even though an atom is so small that you cannot even imagine it, there is a good deal of space between the particles that make it up. And so matter is really mostly space! A brick wall,  or a living person, is really mostly space. In fact, if there where some way to take all the space out off you, living only solid matter, you would be the size of a small pill.

If all the atom were exactly alike, there would be only one kind of matter in the world. But there are more than 100 kinds of atoms, and each of these is an "elements", the simplest kind of matter. An element is matter built of only one kind of atom. Gold, iron, iodine, and oxygen are among the many elements.

Matter that is made up of more than one kind of atom joined together is called a "compound". The smallest bit of compound is a "molecule". The more closely atoms and molecules are packed together in matter, the "denser" we say it is. Matter that has great density is also heavy, like gold.

Wood is less dense, and therefore lighter. Matter can be changed from one state (liquid, solid, gas) to an other, but it can never be completely destroyed. But it can be changed into energy.

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