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Age Range: 11-14 | 14-16
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • Biology
  • D&T

Smart and modern materials

The new materials changing the way we live

Discover and explore the new materials changing the way we live with our Smart and modern materials activity.

The development of new materials with incredible properties are changing the way we live: from LCD TVs to super light airliners, these materials have quickly found their way into pretty much all of the modern technology around us.

Activity info, teachers’ notes and curriculum links

In this practical lesson, students conduct different tests on a selection of materials and identify each one from its properties. The tests include Eureka cans, electrical circuits, and other interesting investigations to test the density, hardness, magnetic and conductive properties of materials. This activity can be tailored to include tests that best investigate the properties of the materials you have available.

Tools/resources required

Resources required for class:

  • Samples of 8 to10 different materials, with more than one sample of each if possible. All the samples should be able to fit in the available eureka cans
  • Access to accurate weighing scales
  • Safety glasses.

Resources required per team:

  • HB pencil, copper coin*, knife**, iron nail, small steel file
  • Eureka can and an accurate measuring cylinder
  • A magnet
  • Powerpack/battery pack, 3 leads, light bulb and holder, crocodile clips
  • A pad of sticky notes.

Download the activity sheets for free below!

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

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

Please do share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation


Nature reinvented

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