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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T
  • Engineering

Engineered materials

Research a specifically engineered material

This activity focuses upon how materials have been specifically engineered to provide certain qualities and characteristics. Learners will explore a range of engineered, synthetic, and smart materials, identifying why they are ‘fit for purpose’ and how they have been engineered to achieve this purpose.

Children will love the hands-on aspect of this project, as they delve into learning about the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of their chosen material. Not only will they learn about what the material looks like, both visually and at a molecular level, but also what it was designed to do, how it's made, what it's used for, and if its function has evolved over time.

This is one of a set of resources developed to support the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3. It has been designed to support the delivery of key topics within science and design and technology (DT).

Activity: Researching a specifically engineered material

Students will work in pairs to conduct research on a specific engineered material. They'll be tasked with creating a fact sheet or PowerPoint presentation covering all aspects of their chosen material. This includes its chemical, physical and mechanical properties, its appearance, its intended purpose, its manufacturing process, its composition, its applications, and any evolution in its function. The completed projects can then be used as a wall display or presented to the rest of the class, promoting a collaborative learning environment.

The engineering context

By understanding the process of engineering materials, students can appreciate the real-world implications of engineering. This activity will help them see the creativity, problem-solving, and innovation involved in engineering, inspiring them to consider a career in this exciting field. It also emphasizes the importance of engineering in our daily lives, showcasing how man-made materials contribute to various industries and applications.

Suggested learning outcomes

Learners will gain a deeper understanding of how materials can be designed and made for specific characteristics and purposes. They'll be able to identify the properties of materials required for a particular function and explore a range of engineered materials, understanding why and how they have been developed. This activity not only enhances their knowledge of science, design, and technology but also nurtures their research, presentation, and teamwork skills.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

You can download our classroom lesson plan below.

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