Welcome to the Teaching Resource Center!
Here you will find all of the lessons included in our Materials Science Classroom Kits, Mini Materials Kit, and bonus lessons and classroom posters to help introduce students to the concepts of materials science.
Each Material Science Classroom Kit comes with The Teacher's Manual, which is an illustrated guide with detailed instructions, learning objectives, demo delivery hints, discussion questions, and student handouts. You can find all of the individual lessons below or download the full Teacher's Manual PDF for free. Before performing any of the demonstrations, please pay special attention to our Safety Data Sheet. We want everyone to learn, have fun, and be safe!
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Lessons from the Material Science Classroom Kits
Hot or Not?
The objective of this lesson is to demonstrate how materials can be designed to withstand very high temperatures using a propane torch to heat one side of a refractory brick.
Candy Fiber Pull
During this demo, Jolly Ranchers® are melted in a beaker using a hot plate. Once the Jolly Ranchers® reach a molten state, candy fibers are pulled from the beaker, which simulates the production of glass-like fibers.
In this lesson, the piezoelectric effect of a ceramic disk and a polymer film is demonstrated through the use of LEDs. This demonstration helps to explain why this property exists in certain materials.
Shape Memory Alloys
The objective of this lesson is to learn how the motion of atoms under added heat can change the shape of metals. Using nitinol and steel wires, this demo will show students how a shape memory alloy can return to its original shape when heat is applied.
This lesson illustrates thermal shock using three different kinds of glass rods. Improving the thermal shock resistance of glass and ceramics can be achieved by improving the strength of the materials or by reducing its coefficient of thermal expansion and tendency for uneven expansion and contraction.
Glass Bead on a Wire
The purpose of this lesson is to examine the unique ability of glass to absorb other ions during thermal treatments. In this lab, students will use copper and nichrome wire to perform a borax bead test and determine what color beads are produced from each type of wire under different heating conditions.
This lesson provides students with an introduction to composites through designing and making reinforced Portland cement pucks and then testing their designs for strength through a drop test.
In this lab, students will see how thermal treatment of a normal steel bobby pin can influence its mechanical properties, especially strength, ductility, and deflection. This is shown using a control sample, an annealed sample, and a quenched sample.
How Strong is Chocolate?
In this lab, different types of chocolate bars are tested to demonstrate the influence of different microstructures on the flexural strength of the chocolate bars. One of our most popular lessons!
The Magic of Ceramics Study Guides
The Material Science Classroom kit also comes with The Magic of Ceramics, which is a nontechnical guide to help readers understand and teach key materials science concepts. Download the full Magic of Ceramics study guide for free.
- Chapter 1: Our Constant Companions
- Chapter 2: From Pottery to the Space Shuttle
- Chapter 3: The Beauty of Ceramics
- Chapter 4: Ceramics and Light
- Chapter 5: Amazing Strength
- Chapter 6: Ceramics and the Electronics Age
- Chapter 7: Piezo Power
- Chapter 8: Medical Miracles
- Chapter 9: Ceramics and the Modern Automobile
- Chapter 10: Heat Beaters
- Chapter 11: The Hardest Materials in the Universe
- Chapter 12: Energy Conservation and Conversion Efficiency
- Chapter 13: From Pollution Control to Zero Pollution
- Chapter 14: What's New and What's Coming