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Learning resources for teachers and pupils

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In collaboration with our university partners and the Discover Materials Network, we have developed a number of activities to demonstrate practical examples of materials science and engineering to a variety of age groups. Check out our information sheets and videos below and have a go at the different activities to learn how materials affect all aspects of the world around us.


Learning Resources


This activity aims to demonstrate the basic principles of recycling. It will show how magnetism is used for metal separation, and how flotation can be used to further separate plastic and glass. These are the same underlying principles that were first used in recycling facilities in order to separate different materials out of the waste stream, with some principles, such as magnetism, still in use to this day.

Curriculum Links: Materials and their properties

Download the Rethink Reuse Recycle activity information sheet here

Nature’s Inspirations

The surface structure of a material has a great bearing on its behaviour and the way in which it interacts with its surroundings. Biomimetics is a field of science that takes inspirations from nature and natural surfaces in order to create functional materials. The aim of this activity is to demonstrate some of the surfaces that have evolved and developed in nature and to showcase examples of biomimetic surfaces that scientists have developed based on nature.

Curriculum Links: Materials and their properties

Download the Nature’s Inspirations activity information sheet here


Spacesuits must withstand extremely hostile environments and keep astronauts safe from the vacuum conditions, cosmic radiation and drastic temperature changes in space. Ultra Violet (UV) radiation is a big danger factor along with Infra Red (IR) rays, so special materials need to be used for protection. The aim of this activity is to show how different materials cope under some of the conditions found in space, ie. UV radiation and IR rays (extreme temperatures).

Curriculum Links: Materials and their properties

Download the How to make a Spacesuit activity information sheet here

Chocolate Impact Tester

Materials have different properties and it is important for us to know and measure these, so we have different methods of testing them. This is activity is designed to test the toughness of chocolate bars and to understand how their structure affects this and relates to real-world applications.

Curriculum Links: Design, Make & Evaluate | Materials and their properties

Download the Chocolate Impact Tester activity information sheet here


This activity aims to demonstrate the structural damage to the crystal lattice of materials that can occur inside a nuclear reactor. This will showcase the importance of material sciences in nuclear energy production, and the reasons why researchers try to develop and test new materials to overcome this problem.

Curriculum Links: Energy generation and storage

Download the Nuclear Radiation Damage activity information sheet here

Contact Us

Contact us to find out more about learning materials available for materials science and engineering or to book a demonstration for your school.