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Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 60 or more mins | 30-59 mins
  • D & T
  • Engineering

Heat shield

Evaluating materials for a heat shield to prevent a piece of chocolate from melting.

The Solar Orbiter has to get very close to the Sun’s surface to observe how it works. It needs a heat shield, so its systems do not get too hot and melt. Can you design a heat shield from a suitable material?

This fun activity focusses on selecting the material to make a heat shield to stop a piece of chocolate from melting. Learners will make use of the theme of the future of flight to design, make and test a heat shield to prevent a piece of chocolate from melting. They will test different materials to see which protects the chocolate the best and discuss their results.

You will need:

  • Polystyrene cups
  • Scissors
  • Materials for heat shields (e.g. milk bottle plastic, cardboard, metal foil, metal mesh)
  • Chocolate pieces
  • Hairdryer
  • Stopwatch or timer

Additional equipment that could be used:

  • Thermometer
  • Ruler
  • Heat mats to place polystyrene cups on
  • Oven gloves/cloths/tongs

And please do share your learning highlights and final creations with us on social media @IETeducation or send them via email to to be featured in our online gallery.

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