Properties of Materials

Science Year 5/6 Materials Consultants

You have been employed as a materials ‘agony aunt/uncle’ to help solve everyday issues caused by the amazing array of material properties. Do you know your thermal insulators from your thermal conductors? Can you find the best materials to keep one reader’s porridge hot for their commute to work, and the best bags for class 2’s snack sales? You will need to carry out an impressive array of tests to identify which materials are up to the job for a variety of reader needs.

Session 1 Recycling challenge

Objectives

Your local recycling centre has sent you a letter asking for help sorting, comparing and grouping the materials they receive on a daily basis according to possible uses – make a list of suggested uses and create a properties tick grid for quick reference.

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including their hardness, transparency, and conductivity (electrical and thermal)
ii) Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Working Scientifically

  1. Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  2. Recording data and results of increasing complexity using tables and scatter graphs
  3. Using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  4. Reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • PMI materials and guidance
  • Letter
  • Table for Y5 to record findings & sample scatter graph
  • Odd one out

Additional Resources

  • Range of materials and equipment (see PMI activity and materials list)
  • Nails for scratching
  • Pipettes
  • Water
  • Magnets
  • Electric circuit equipment.

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • To match key properties of materials to possible uses, giving reasons (Y5)
  • To suggest key properties of materials and possible uses, giving reasons (Y6)
  • To record information in a table (Y5&6)


Activities

  1. Sort and match properties of materials to uses, offering reasons (Y5)
  2. Record properties of materials in a given table and match to uses (Y5)
  3. Sort and identify properties of materials, offering reasons for suggested possible uses (Y6)
  4. Present properties and related uses of materials in the form of a table and scatter graph (Y6)

Investigation
Recycling Challenge (properties of wood, glass, metals and plastics). Your local recycling centre has sent you a letter asking for help sorting the materials they receive on a daily basis according to possible uses – make a list for possible uses and create a properties tick grid for quick reference. (Problem solving, Classifying and identifying)
Year 5 - Sort and match properties and uses of materials and record in a given table
Year 6 - Sort and identify properties of uses of materials and record in a self-designed table


Vocabulary
Opinion/fact, comparative, fair test, scatter graph, material & property names, enquiry, use, reasoning

Session 2 Hot porridge and frozen yogurt

Objectives

Frozen yogurt needs to stay cold, and porridge needs to stay hot. Can you investigate the insulating properties and thermal conductivity of a range of materials and make recommendations to one of your readers trying to enjoy breakfast on their morning commute?

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together everyday materials based on thermal conductivity properties
ii) Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Working Scientifically

  1. Planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  2. Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  3. Recording data and results of increasing complexity using tables and line graphs
  4. Using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  5. Reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in written forms



You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Letter
  • Investigation guidance & equipment


Additional Resources

  • Range of containers (plastic (melamine) cups, glass jars, tin cans (paper removed), paper cups)
  • Porridge OR hot and cold water & Pyrex jugs
  • Frozen yogurt OR Ice cubes
  • Thermometers
  • Kitchen towel
  • Aluminium foil
  • Cling film


Weblinks
Thermal insulators and conductors quiz from www.educationquizzes.com

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Plan and carry out an investigation on given materials to explore thermal insulating properties (Y5&6)
  • Record findings, identifying the best materials for keeping things hot or cold (Y5&6)
  • To suggest further investigations and predict likely outcomes of these (Y6)


Activities

  1. Identify what a thermal conductor and thermal insulator are (Y5&6)
  2. Use enquiry questions to set up an investigation into thermal insulators, recording findings in table and line graph form (Y5)
  3. Plan and set up an investigation independently to identify thermal insulators, demonstrating understanding of a fair test, suggesting ways to record findings, and further investigations (Y6)

Investigation
Hot Porridge and Frozen Yogurt (thermal conductivity). Frozen yogurt needs to stay cold, and porridge needs to stay hot. Can you investigate the insulating properties of a range of materials and make recommendations to one of your readers trying to commute with breakfast? (Problem solving, Exploring, Fair testing, Classifying and identifying, Observing over time)
Year 5 - Suggest enquiry questions and set up an investigation to determine which materials make the best thermal insulators, recording findings in table and line graph form, recommending materials to store hot porridge and cold frozen yogurt in
Year 6 - Plan and set up an investigation independently to identify thermal insulators, demonstrating understanding of a fair test and suggesting ways to record findings, recommending materials to store hot porridge and cold frozen yogurt in


Vocabulary
Insulator, conductor, thermal, prediction, accuracy, comparative, fair test, enquiry, line graph

Session 3 Packaging problems

Objectives

Since raising money through snack sales, Class 2 has gone from strength to strength. However the children want to know which are the best materials in terms of strength, transparency and absorption for different forms of packaging and storage jars.

Science Objectives
i) Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Working Scientifically

  1. Planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  2. Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  3. Recording data and results of increasing complexity using tables and scatter graphs
  4. Reporting & presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral & written forms such as displays and other presentations
  5. Identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Letter
  • Investigation equipment list & guidance


Additional Resources

  • Snack food (see list)
  • Investigation equipment
  • Paper with dried PVA glue on it

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Plan, set up and present findings from an investigation into paper strength (Y5&6)
  • Research glass and plastic as jar materials and identify their properties and uses (Y5&6)

Activities

  1. Select the best materials to make bags and storage jars that are fit for purpose (Y5&6)
  2. Plan and set up an investigation into the strength of various papers, presenting findings (Y5&6)
  3. Research the properties of glass and plastic and relate to their use as food storage materials (Y5&6)


Investigation
Packaging Problems (strength and transparency). Since raising money through snack sales, Class 2 has gone from strength to strength. However the children want to know which materials are best for different forms of packaging and storage jars. (Problem solving, Exploring, Fair testing, Classifying and identifying)
Year 5 - Plan and set up and investigate into the strength of various papers and research glass and plastic as possible bottle materials and identify their key properties. Select the best materials to make bags and storage jars that are fit for purpose
Year 6 - Independently plan and set up fair tests that investigate the strength of various papers, and key properties of glass and plastic. Select the best materials to make bags and storage jars that are fit for purpose


Vocabulary
Opinion/fact, variables, accuracy, precision, scatter graph, comparable, fair test, strength, transparent, opaque, absorption

Session 4 Café Challenge

Objectives

A local cafe wants tables that are waterproof and light weight but that don’t scratch easily. Can you help?

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties
ii) Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Working Scientifically

  1. Planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  2. Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  3. Recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  4. Reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations


You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Email resource
  • Food Standards Agency guidelines
  • Images of tables
  • Sticky-note investigation

Additional Resources

  • Various materials (metals, wood, plastics, glass, see list) to test
  • Example tables
  • Nail
  • Water

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Plan and set up investigations to test a range of materials for their waterproof properties, strength and hardness (Y5&6)
  • Record and present findings in a suitable graph/table (Y5&6)


Activities

  1. Make recommendations for materials suitable for outdoor tables (Y5&6)
  2. Plan and set up investigations to test a range of materials for their suitability for table tops (Y5&6)
  3. Record and present findings in a suitable graph/table (Y5&6)


Investigation
Café Challenge (hardness, waterproof and lightweight). A local cafe wants tables that are waterproof light weight but don’t scratch easily. Can you help? (Problem solving, Exploring, Fair testing, Classifying and identifying)
Year 5 - Plan and set up investigations to test a range of materials for their waterproof properties, strength and hardness
And record and present findings in a suitable graph/table. Make recommendations for materials suitable for outdoor tables
Year 6 - Independently plan, set up and present findings from fair test investigations into the waterproof properties, strength and hardness of a range of materials. Make recommendations for materials suitable for outdoor tables


Vocabulary
Opinion/fact, variables, scatter graph, comparable, fair test, strength, hardness, porous/non-porous

Session 5 Toy shop challenge (electrical conductivity)

Objectives

Innovation and learning are always key at Topps Toys – the new owner wants recommendations for materials that conduct electricity and those that won’t for a new electrical game.

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together everyday materials according to their electrical conductivity
ii) Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Working Scientifically

  1. Planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  2. Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  3. Recording data and results of increasing complexity using tables and bar graphs
  4. Using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  5. Reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in written forms

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Sticky-note investigation resources


Additional Resources

  • Items for initial set up (incl: salty water, pencil, spoon, metallic looking plastic, metallic card)
  • Materials for testing (for conducting electricity including nails, paper clips, coins, scissors, spoons, aluminium foil, glass, fabric, iron wool, pens with metal bits on them, see table)


Weblinks
Electrical conductors from www.bbc.co.uk

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Plan and set up investigations to test a range of materials for electrical conductivity (Y5&6)
  • Record and present findings in a suitable graph/table (Y5&6)

Activities

  1. Identify materials that do and do not conduct electricity (Y5&6)
  2. Plan, set up and present findings from a fair test investigation looking at the electricity conducting properties of materials (Y5&6)
  3. Compare thermal and electrical conduction (Y5&6)

Investigation
Toy Shop Challenge (electric conductivity). Electrical health and safety is always key at Topps Toys – the new owner wants recommendations for materials that conduct electricity and those that won’t for a new range of electrical toys. (Problem solving, Exploring, Fair testing, Classifying and identifying)
Year 5 - Plan and set up an investigation looking at the electricity conducting properties of materials. Identify materials that do and do not conduct electricity and compare thermal and electrical conduction
Year 6 - Independently plan, set up and present findings from a fair test investigation looking at the electricity conducting properties of materials. Identify materials that do and do not conduct electricity and compare thermal and electrical conduction


Vocabulary
Variables, bar graph, fair test, electrical conductor, electrical insulator

Session 6 Snoring challenge (soundproofing)

Objectives

One local resident wants some ear defenders to help her sleep through her partner’s snoring. Can you test out a range of materials that combine comfort and style with soundproofing?

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties
ii) Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Working Scientifically

  1. Planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  2. Taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  3. Recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
  4. Using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  5. Reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Letter
  • Sticky-note investigation resources
  • Assessment indicators
  • ‘I can’ questions

Additional Resources

  • Ear plugs
  • Sound meter or app
  • Materials for testing F (including thick card, rubber, bubble wrap, tin foil, cotton wool)


Weblinks
Snoring sound effect from www.youtube.com

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Plan, carry out and record findings from an investigation into soundproofing properties (Y5&6)
  • Create a labelled diagram outlining findings, conclusions (Y5&6) and limitations (Y6)


Activities

  1. Plan and carry out an investigation into the soundproofing properties of given materials (Y5&6)
  2. Create and present a labelled diagram that identifies the best materials for ear plugs explaining scientific reasons for choices (Y5&6)

Investigation
Snoring Challenge (soundproofing). One local resident wants some ear defenders to help her sleep through her partner’s snoring. Can you test out a range of materials that combine comfort and style with soundproofing? (Problem solving, Exploring, Fair testing, Classifying and identifying)
Years 5&6 - Plan and carry out an investigation into the sound proofing properties of given materials then create and present a report that identifies the best materials for ear defenders based on data and general understanding of materials


Vocabulary
Variables, fair test, comparative, limitations, enquiry, scientific diagram, acoustic absorption