Teachers taught us the 3 states of matter, but there’s a 4th called plasma. Why weren’t we taught all 4 around the same time?

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Teachers taught us the 3 states of matter, but there’s a 4th called plasma. Why weren’t we taught all 4 around the same time?

In: Planetary Science

6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

For the same reasons you don’t learn calculus in elementary school

Solid liquid gas are very common in basic science theory/education and have a broad application to many career paths…..plasma is abundant in the universe but not a common natural state of matter on earth

Understanding plasma requires more fundamental building blocks of science like electrons

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because then we would be having this same conversation about the 5th state of matter, the Bose-Einstien condensate.

Showing the 3 phases of matter with water is so much easier for a child to grasp. Water can’t really exist as a plasma, rather the hydrogen and oxygen would be the plasma. Breaking down of molecules is a bit advanced for a child.

Anonymous 0 Comments

One could argue there are more than 4 actually. But understanding them would require a high level physics so the easy ones are taught instead.

Google superfluidity videos if you are interested in something almost fictional.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The first three states are things that people encounter every day. The fourth is something most people will never encounter in their lives, and even physicists researching it specifically do so with a lot of protective equipment (or telescopes) between it and them. Telling second graders about it would just make the other three states more confusing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are more than 4 states of matter. There are more than 5 states of matter. In fact, it turns out to get difficult at some point to decide if an observation is a new state of matter or not. But most people agree there are 3 states of matter that every person interacts with every day.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Somehow I haven’t seen this answer yet: the “basic” 3 states of matter are the only ones where the atoms are intact. Plasma, exotic condensates, etc all involve subatomic particles. But if you’ve got electrons bound to a nucleus, you’re talking about either a solid, liquid, or gas.