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.

Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
How does light interact with matter? In this fun hands-on lesson, you students explore how different materials transmit, absorb and/or reflect light. They create their own experiments to demonstrate these phenomena and use a phones' built-in light sensor and Google's Science Journal app to add quantitative data to their arguments. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-8th
Coming up with new ideas is hard! How do engineers design new things or improve existing ones? Engineers and inventors use different brainstorming techniques to help them think outside the box and come up with new ideas. In this lesson plan, your students will practice brainstorming with a method called SCAMPER. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
In this lesson, students are challenged to design and build a controlled-release tablet, which will be made from different colored bath tablets and a variety of water-soluble plastics. First, they will have to test the properties of each of the different plastic materials. Then their task will be to create a tablet that releases three different colors, each at a pre-determined time after the tablet has been submerged in water. As students design and build their controlled-release tablets, they… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS1-2. Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.

  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Lesson Plan Grade: 1st-2nd
Plastic, metal, wood, and stone. We encounter many different materials every day. Each object around us is made of a specific material. Why are they not all made from the same material? The answer is that every material has different properties; some are hard and others are soft, some are transparent and others are opaque. For each product that is produced, the material from which it is made determines many of its properties. This is why material testing is so important. These tests allow… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-PS1-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
Free science fair projects.