Learning about Materials


Our Science topic this term is ‘Materials.’ This is one of my favourite topics to teach as you can do so much with it and the children always really enjoy it and learn so much. It is also a great way for them to become more aware of the world around them and the idea that ‘Materials’ is not just something you learn in school – materials are everywhere.

Materials is also a great topic to link in with our houses and homes theme. I’ll be posting more on that next week.



Here are just some of the topics we have covered under the theme of materials over the past few weeks.

We examined a wide range of materials by looking at and touching different classroom objects. Then the children went on a materials hunt around the classroom.


To show children that it is not just the sense of sight we use to identify materials we did a ‘Feely Bag’ activity. The children had to use senses such as hearing, touching and smelling to make out different materials.

Using the sense of touch to identify a puppet made of fabric.

Using the sense of hearing to identify paper.

Using the sense of hearing to identify a marble in a glass jar.


The children learned lots of new words to describe the properties of materials. They had many chances to handle different materials and describe their attributes. Each group was given various objects and a sheet with images of the objects. They had to examine the materials write their type and properties.

Here is our display:


The Plastic Detectives: Plastic is everywhere in our modern world. Even when we think a material is something else, like wood or card, it is often plastic. This week year one were the plastic detectives. We sorted materials into those  plastic and not plastic and we were all surprised by a few items.

The children were surprised that dolls' house furniture that looked wooden was actually plastic.

We were surprised that a juice carton was made of plastic when it looked like card.

Then the children went on a plastic hunt around the classroom.


The children also learned a new word, ‘waterproof,’ and did an experiment to find out what materials are waterproof. We wrapped cotton wool in paper, card, cloth and plastic and the children had to predict and then test if the cotton wool would stay dry.

This idea was taken from the Hamilton Trust Plans.

Testing if the card is waterproof.

Will the plastic be waterproof?

Yay, the cotton wool is still dry.


The children also examined ‘floating and sinking’ and we did an experiment to see what kinds of materials float and what kinds of materials sink.

First, as always, we made some predictions.

One group used the board to predict which of their chosen items would sink and which would float.

Another group predicted by dividing their chosen items between 'float' and 'sink' flashcards.

Checking our predictions.


The children also had the chance to do some interactive activities in the computer centre.

The activities the children were carrying out came from BBC Schools. The links are here and here.

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