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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Science topics ages 7 - 8
Characteristics of materials

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Online lesson plan


Recognise simple properties of materials such as strength, flexibility, transparency

Understand that materials are suitable for making a particular object because of their properties

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Sc3, 1a

Wales: Key Stage 2, Materials and their properties, 1.1

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Materials, Properties a, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Materials from Earth, Level B

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: Characteristics of materials

Everyday items made from a range of different materials (metal, glass, paper, fabric, rubber, plastic)

Worksheets with pictures of a tyre, a towel, a saucepan, a window, a notebook and a drinks bottle

Teaching activities

Recap that a material is what an object is made from; it doesn’t just mean fabric.

Show the everyday items and ask what material each is made from. Make a list of these materials on a large sheet of paper.

Select Characteristics of materials from the Science Clips website. Tell the children you are going to test each material to find out it usually behaves. First, go through the four tests to be carried out to ensure children understand the words waterproof, flexible, strong, transparent. Drag the paper into the tester. Ask different children to come out to carry out one of the four tests. Ask them to predict what they think will happen, and then record the result on the list made in the introduction. Are there any other obvious properties they could add, e.g. paper is light. Repeat for the other materials. Now click on the Workshop button. Show the children the blueprints for the tyre, towel, saucepan, window, notebook and drinks bottle. In pairs, ask the children to predict a good material to make each object from (from the list on the board) and explain why, and suggest a material it could not be made from and explain why. Ask them to write their choices on the worksheets.

On the interactive whiteboard, use the Workshop to check the children’s predictions. For each object, ask what are its functions and what properties does it need? Which material has those properties? Which material would not be a good choice? Why?


Umbrella Design Challenge. Ask children to design an umbrella to keep off the rain. They must first brainstorm a list of possible materials they could make it from. They should then go through the list and decide why it would not be sensible to make an umbrella from some of the materials.

Suggested homework

Make four different designs for a cup, each made from a different material. Two of the designs must work and two of them must not work. Children need to explain why each of the cups will be a success or a failure.


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