Age range: 11-14 | 14-16
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Biology
  • D&T

Smart materials 1

Identify which materials might offer the best prospects for a financial investment

The development of new materials with incredible properties is changing the way we live. From LCD TVs to super light airliners, these materials have quickly found their way into the modern technology around us. One area where modern materials have made a huge impact is in the development of prosthetic devices. Some of these devices are beginning to outperform ‘natural’ body parts.

Activity info,  teachers’ notes and curriculum links

Students investigate the properties of different categories of smart materials and decide which kinds of materials might offer the best prospects for a financial investment.  Students work in teams and present their results to the rest of the class. The activity offers strong opportunities for cross-curricular work with Enterprise.

This activity can be extended with a related practical session ‘Smart Materials 2’ (see related activities section below), where students identify a material from its particular properties.

The 'Body Builders' and 'The Other Organ' challenges are extension activities that task students to think about the growth of replacement organs and the controversies around this science.

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.

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All activity sheets and supporting resources (including film clips!) 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 stream and download the related films for free by clicking on the appropriate link in the related resources section below.

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Related resources