How To Teach About Materials and their Properties

Written by Dan

Last updated

Teaching kids about materials and their properties can be a fun and educational experience. By using everyday objects, you can help them understand the different characteristics of each material.

Science is important for them to properly understand, so here are some tips on how to teach about materials and their properties.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Teach Evolution and Inheritance In Science

materials and their properties

Distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made.

Teaching students about the distinction between an object and the material from which it is made can be an essential part of a Material and Properties curriculum. An object is something tangible – it can be seen, touched, and interacted with, whereas materials are substances that objects are made from.

Understanding this difference will help students understand collectively how various items in their classrooms and everyday life are created and interact.

Solidifying this understanding can also establish a foundation to expand their knowledge of materials and properties.

Solids, Liquids, Gasses

Students can learn valuable lessons about the differences between these three states of matter by comparing and grouping materials according to whether they are solids, liquids or gases.

As an example, students can compare metals such as iron and aluminium, which are both solid; they can compare water, vapour and oil, all three of which are liquids; or they could study the behaviour of oxygen and hydrogen in the air around us—both gases that have very different properties when grouped.

Providing concrete examples will help your audience understand how materials differ based on their state of matter.

Hardness, Solubility, Transparency, Conductivity

Teaching materials and their associated properties are invaluable lessons for students of all ages. Properties such as hardness, solubility, transparency, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity and the response to magnets are standard parameters teachers use to introduce students to the wonderful world of materials!

This article provides a hands-on approach to teaching materials; it explains how everyday items can be compared, grouped and classified based on their properties.

By engaging students in this process, they can learn to identify distinguishing characteristics and develop critical thinking skills that will shape their future understanding of all fields related to science and technology.

Comparative and Fair Tests

Having students conduct comparative and fair tests can be a great way to observe the properties of different materials firsthand, allowing them to better connect with the material being discussed.

Other materials have unique physical properties that lend themselves to specific applications – understanding why some materials are much better suited for particular tasks is critical in connecting with the material.

By having students explore these properties through hands-on activities, they can learn to identify which materials can do a given task best and leave them better prepared to make decisions when developing future projects.


Teaching students about materials and their properties can be simple. Identifying when a fabric will dissolve in liquid to form a solution is an essential part of the process.

By understanding this concept, you can introduce your students to recovering a substance from a solution, which can often be used for practical applications in everyday life. For example, evaporating salty water from seawater is one way we use this process to obtain salt from its solution.

Through careful observation and guided experiments, your students can get hands-on experience with learning these concepts while having a meaningful learning experience.

Reversible Changes

When teaching students about materials and their properties, it’s essential to demonstrate that dissolving, mixing, and state changes are reversible. The best way to show this concept is via interactive activities such as experimenting with common household ingredients or creating a homemade lava lamp.

For example, to teach the differences between melting and dissolving, students can dissolve sugar in hot water and watch as the solution cools.

As it cools, they will see the crystals form as the solids precipitate out, making it easy to understand that this process is reversible. Similarly, adding warm water to an ice cube will show clearly how physical state changes are also reversible.

These activities illustrate that these processes may change back into their original state if given enough time or energy.

New Materials

Teaching about materials and their properties can be a great way to demonstrate how changes can create new materials. Some of these changes are reversible, like melting ice or evaporating water, while others result in something that cannot change back, such as combusting wood into ash.

This type of irreversible change is an important science concept for students to understand, as it lays the groundwork for them to understand other chemical reactions happening daily.

Explaining that some changes result in the formation of new materials helps students appreciate how powerful and transformative our environment can be.

Teaching students about materials and their properties can be a great way to introduce essential science concepts such as comparative and fair tests, solutions, reversible changes, and new materials.

By engaging in hands-on activities, thoughtful observation, and guided experiments, students can better comprehend these topics while also developing critical thinking skills that will help them make informed decisions.

Connecting with the material in this way allows students to form a deeper understanding of their environment and how it works. With this knowledge, they become better equipped to tackle more considerable challenges.

This article has provided an overview of the many educational resources available for teaching about materials and their properties. The key is providing an engaging and comprehensive curriculum that encourages students to investigate and explore independently. By introducing various activities and experiments, you can ensure that your students learn the fundamentals while having fun.

With this knowledge, they are better equipped to make informed decisions when developing future projects. Through teaching about materials and their properties, students can gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and how it works, making them better equipped to tackle more significant challenges in the future.

FAQ About Science in Primary Schools

What topics are covered in primary school science?

A. The topics covered in a primary school science curriculum vary from country to country but generally speaking, students learn about the physical and natural world through topics such as life cycles, habitats, explaining natural events, forces and motion, materials and their properties, light, electricity, sound and more.

What resources does my child need to study science at home?

A. Resources for studying science at home will depend on what kind of activities your children do. Still, some helpful resources may include an up-to-date science encyclopedia or dictionary and a selection of age-appropriate books related to the studied topic.

Depending on your child’s education level and interests, you can provide educational videos or online interactive activities to help explain concepts further.

What tools do teachers use when teaching science in primary schools?

A. Teachers use various science tools, including practical experiments, educational software/apps, presentations featuring animations/graphics, interactive whiteboards and other visual aids such as charts/diagrams to help explain complex scientific concepts.

On top of these, teachers also rely on teaching approaches that involve collaborative learning experiences amongst students, such as group work, problem-solving tasks and inquiry-based projects that allow students to investigate questions interactively while building critical thinking skills and knowledge surrounding various scientific ideas or theories.

How is learning assessed in a primary school science class?

A. Depending on the type of assessment used by the teacher or institution, it could come in formative or summative assessment forms such as tests or lab reports or even informal reviews like classroom debates which often involve questioning techniques used to test students’ understanding of scientific concepts being discussed.

Ultimately, Learning is assessed by measuring students’ mastery of various subjects taught within a course.

This helps educators track progress towards better understanding and knowledge acquisition regarding different scientific theories/ideas presented during classes throughout the year.

Are there any tips for helping my child understand science better?

A. Yes! One great way to get your child interested in science is by encouraging them to explore their environment by asking questions about things they encounter every day, like plants growing outside, or simply letting them experiment with simple experiments using everyday household items like Magnets or balloons filled with air!

You can also set aside specific times for studying science alone or by doing activities together, such as attending Science Fairs, where your child can have hands-on experience exploring different stations related to specific topics!

Another great tip would be encouraging your child read Scientific articles online, so they can stay updated with current developments happening in the field whilst gaining real-world experience researching topics independently

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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