Materials Science STEM Activities for Kids (10 results)

Materials science is a fascinating area of research that is often at the cutting edge of science and engineering. It involves both developing new materials and improving on existing ones, and has important applications both for improving daily life and for advancing other fields of research. You can try your hand at making and testing all kinds of substances from plastic to slime.

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Have you ever heard that plastic can be made out of milk? If this sounds like something made-up to you, you may be surprised to learn that from the early 1900s until about 1945, milk was commonly used to make many different plastic ornaments, including buttons, decorative buckles, beads and other jewelry, fountain pens, the backings for hand-held mirrors, and fancy comb and brush sets. Milk plastic (usually called casein plastic) was even used to make jewelry for Queen Mary of England! In… Read more
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Have you ever seen the Diet Coke® and Mentos® experiment, which is all over the Internet, and wondered what makes the reaction work? You might think that there is some ingredient in a Mentos candy causing a chemical reaction with the soda, like the way baking soda reacts with vinegar. But the amazing eruption that takes place when Mentos are dropped into Diet Coke is not a chemical reaction at all! Instead it is a physical reaction. That means that all of the pieces of the reaction… Read more
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Balloons are fun and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and forms that makes them well suited for decorations, water play, modeling, and other creative activities. But balloons also have uses outside of recreation; weather balloons, balloons used to widen obstructed arteries, and balloons that provide transportation are just a few examples. The first balloons were made of animal bladders or intestines. This made way for the latex, rubber, and nylon fabric balloons we see today. Have you ever… Read more
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Have you ever tried to catch a bubble without popping it? It's hard! What materials can you use to successfully catch a bubble? Do some materials work better than others? Try this activity to find out. Read more
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Have you ever seen an arch structure in a building, such as over a doorway or surrounding large windows? Arches have been used in structural engineering since ancient times. In this activity you will test the strength of a naturally occurring arch shape: the shell of an egg. So grab some eggs and put them to good engineering use in trying to answer the following question: Just how much mass can an eggshell can support? Read more
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Do you hate doing the dishes, folding laundry, or cleaning up your room? Do you wish you could figure out a way to get these tasks done faster? Figure out how as you take on the role of a production engineer in this fun activity! Read more
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Have you ever noticed that the dried fruits or nuts in your breakfast cereal are not evenly spread out inside the box, or that in a container of mixed nuts Brazil nuts gather at the top? This phenomenon is commonly called the "Brazil nut effect," and the science behind it is surprisingly complex and far-reaching. This phenomenon can be a nuisance when you want to fill silos, bags, or bins with different types of materials. It can also be used to our advantage: an avalanche airbag uses the… Read more
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Kinetic or Magic Sand is easy to find in stores, and fun to play with at home! But did you ever wonder what’s so magical about magic sand? You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the magic is actually science! You can create your own version of this fun mixture with just a few kitchen ingredients. Get out your magic wand and get ready for some science! Read more
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You may have heard of the space shuttle Apollo 13, or seen the movie about the amazing survival of the ship’s crew after an explosion aboard the ship. What you may not know, is that duct tape helped save the lives of the Apollo 13 crew! NASA had to figure out a way to keep the 3 crew members alive in a tiny lunar module that was only meant to hold 2 people for 36 hours. They instructed the crew to build life-saving air filters using cardboard, plastic bags, space suit parts and –… Read more
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Have you ever helped your parents cook a pot of spaghetti? Strands of spaghetti are pretty long, so sometimes people break them in half so they fit into the pot more easily. How exactly does the spaghetti break? And what does this have to do with science? It turns out engineers and materials scientists study how materials break when they are bent. While professional engineers might be more concerned with steel beams in a bridge, you can still do a fun experiment with some pasta in your kitchen. Read more
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Free science fair projects.