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Science: Materials

Building on the exploration of what things are made of from Year 1 - we are developing our understanding of materials and how they are chosen for specific purposes based on their properties.


We will be thinking about adjectives we can use to describe a material and how that can help us to decide what it would be good for.


We will then be able to decide which material has the best properties for a purpose.



You can learn more at home with your child using the ideas included on this parent newsletter all about Materials.

It's full of fun activities you can try together.


It rains a lot here in Salford but we like to play outside so we need to find a way to make waterproof jackets - but out of which material?


We decided our jacket would need to be

  • flexible - so we could move in it
  • light - so we could wear it
  • waterproof - so we would stay dry


it was difficult to find materials which fit all 3 criteria but we narrowed it down to four different possibilities - plastic, cotton, tissue or felt. 

Exploring ideal properties:

We heard on the news that the British Olympic Gynmastics team were in trouble. Their van, containing all of their kit had been stolen, and they had no money for replacement costumes. 

We knew we had to help - so we set about finding the best material to make them some new outfits.


First we had to decide what properties the material would need. At first we thought shiny and sparkly were the most important, but then we thought about how gymnasts move and how their clothing would need to move with them but not get in their way.


We came to the conclusion that the most important property needed for the material was to be stretchy.


We needed to test our range of materials to see which would fit our decision.


some material didn't stretch at all. Some. Stretched too much and went really thin. Some just broke up when they were pulled, and others stretched and kept their shape really well.


After our test we were able to place an order for the best material - it was bright and colourful and most importantly had good stretching properties - it was perfect for the gymnasts! 

Mr Wheeler's new mop:

Mr Wheeler, our school site manager, needs a new mop. His has stopped soaking up spilled water.  Following our fantastic research for the British Olympic team, Mr Wheeler heard that we were becoming experts in choosing the right materials for a job based on their properties and so he turned to us for help.


First we needed to identify the properties a mop needed.... then we needed to find the best material for the job.


We gathered all the items we could find around school that we thought would be absorbent. We put them in order of our predictions, from the least to the most absorbent. And then came the fun part - we tested them to see which could soak up the most water. By squeezing out the sponges we could compare the amount of water each absorbed. We placed these in order from least to most water absorbed and compared our results to the predictions we had made.


We all decided that the most absorbent material was the car sponge and recommended this to Mr Wheeler for his new mop.

  • The Cathedral School of St Peter and St John R.C. Primary
  • Mount Street, Salford, M3 6LU (Sat Nav M3 6AY)
  • Email : stpeter&
  • Telephone : 0161 834 4150
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