Materials in the curriculum

Fifth and sixth class 

Strand unit: Properties and characteristics of materials

The child should be enabled to

  • Recognise that materials can be in solid, liquid or gas form  
  • Identify and investigate a widening range of common materials in the immediate
    water, air, rock, fabric, paper, metal, wood, plastic, food
  • Explore the origins of these materials
    identify natural and manufactured materials
    understand how some of these materials are processed or made
  • Group materials according to their properties and/or composition
    properties (e.g. flexibility, transparency, magnetism, conductivity, insulation, strength, shape, perishable or non-perishable foods, solubility)
    composition (e.g. foods containing proteins, carbohydrates and/or fats; soil containing clay, silt, sand and/or gravel)
  • Identify how materials are used
    relate the properties of the material to its use
    examine how shape affects the strength of structures
    design and make a bridge that takes account of flexibility, form, stability and strength
  • Recognise that a gas, such as air, occupies space, has mass* and exerts pressure
    investigate evidence for atmospheric pressure
    explore the effect of air resistance
    design and make a glider
  • Recognise that some materials decay naturally while others survive a long time in
    the environment
    biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste environmental problems caused by non-biodegradable waste materials that may be recycled
  • Become aware that air is composed of different gases including oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Become aware of some of the practical applications of these gases in everyday life use of carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks and in fire extinguishers

Heating and cooling - The child should be enabled to

  • Explore the effects of heating and cooling on a range of solids, liquids and gases
    temporary changes (e.g. from solid to liquid to gas)
    expansion of water on freezing evaporation of water on heating
    permanent changes (e.g. those caused by baking bread in an oven)  
  • Experiment to establish which materials are good conductors of heat or good insulators
    explore ways in which liquids and solids may be kept hot or cold
  • Identify ways in which homes and buildings are heated and insulated
  • Recognise how heating and cooling can be used to preserve food

Mixing, separating and other changes  - the child should be enabled to

  • Investigate how a wide range of materials may be changed by mixing
    mixing and dissolving materials in water solutions
    exploring liquids that will not mix
  • Investigate the effects of light, air and water on materials
    discoloration and fading
    rusting of iron and steel
    investigate how rusting can be controlled characteristics of materials when wet and dry
  • Examine the changes that take place in materials when physical forces are applied
    when materials are beaten, whisked, mixed,
    squashed, pulled, bent
  • Recognise that oxygen is required for burning  
  • Explore some simple ways in which
    materials may be separated
    using sieves of varying meshes
    using a magnet
    using ruler charged with static electricity allowing sediment to settle in a jar of liquid separation of salt and water by evaporation separation of water and soil using simple sieves (filtration)