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Investigating Materials 1

In this worksheet, students will have the chance to enter an investigation into the properties of different materials, how to go about testing them and how to interpret the results.

'Investigating Materials 1' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Properties and Changes of Materials

Curriculum subtopic:  Testing Everyday Materials

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

 Mrs. Bates's science class are testing materials to find out which ones are waterproof.

 

Water

 

Here is a list of the materials they tested:

  • aluminium foil
  • cotton
  • paper
  • rubber
  • wool
  • plastic
  • newspaper
  • plastic bag
  • girls' tights
  • kitchen towel
  • card
  • tissue

 

Let's see how the investigation progressed.

First of all Mrs. Bates asks her students to predict which ones they think will be waterproof.

 

What is a prediction?

what you hope will happen

what you guess will happen

what you think will happen based on your knowledge

Mrs. Bates showed her class how to fasten a piece of the material they were testing over a yogurt pot with an elastic band. Then she told them to pour three spoonfuls of water on to each different material.

 

At the end of each experiment the material was removed from the pot.

 

How could the students tell if the material was waterproof?

the material would be dry

there would be water in the yogurt pot

there would be no water in the yogurt pot

Below is the list of materials Mrs. Bates's class tested.

 

Put a tick by the ones that you predict were found to be waterproof.

aluminium foil

cotton

paper

rubber

wool

plastic

newspaper

plastic bag

girls' tights

kitchen towel

card

tissue

Some of the students carrying out the investigation put only 1 spoonful of water on to the material covering each pot. It turned out that their results were different to the rest of the class.

 

Why do you think that adding just one spoonful of water changed the results?

because the water ran off the material

because some of the materials absorbed the water and did not let any water through

because they did the investigation too quickly

Which of these three materials that the students tested do you think would be the most absorbent?

cotton

tissue

kitchen towel

Which of the materials tested do you think would be the best one to use to make a waterproof coat?

rubber sheets

plastic bags

newspapers

Divers often need to write things down when they are underwater. They use a special pencil to do this, but what material from the list do you think would make the best waterproof 'paper'?

aluminium foil

paper

rubber

plastic

  • Question 1

First of all Mrs. Bates asks her students to predict which ones they think will be waterproof.

 

What is a prediction?

CORRECT ANSWER
what you think will happen based on your knowledge
EDDIE SAYS
Let's say that Manchester Utd. football club are going to play your local team in an FA Cup match. What do you predict will happen? Based on your knowledge that the Premiership side are one of the strongest teams in the world you'd predict (expect) them to win. That might not happen, but it probably would. Sometimes you're investigating something you know nothing about - in that case you can only make a guess as you have no knowledge to base a prediction upon.
  • Question 2

Mrs. Bates showed her class how to fasten a piece of the material they were testing over a yogurt pot with an elastic band. Then she told them to pour three spoonfuls of water on to each different material.

 

At the end of each experiment the material was removed from the pot.

 

How could the students tell if the material was waterproof?

CORRECT ANSWER
there would be no water in the yogurt pot
EDDIE SAYS
A waterproof material, like rubber, would still be wet although it hadn't absorbed any water. What the students would be looking for is that no water had soaked through the material into the pot, so the pot should be dry.
  • Question 3

Below is the list of materials Mrs. Bates's class tested.

 

Put a tick by the ones that you predict were found to be waterproof.

CORRECT ANSWER
aluminium foil
paper
rubber
plastic
plastic bag
card
EDDIE SAYS
Now although there are some 'right' answers here, that doesn't really matter - your prediction is your prediction: you base that on your own knowledge and experience. You probably know that things like wellington boots (rubber) and plastic shopping bags don't let water through while tissue and newspaper do, but that's why we do experiments and investigations - TO FIND OUT!
  • Question 4

Some of the students carrying out the investigation put only 1 spoonful of water on to the material covering each pot. It turned out that their results were different to the rest of the class.

 

Why do you think that adding just one spoonful of water changed the results?

CORRECT ANSWER
because some of the materials absorbed the water and did not let any water through
EDDIE SAYS
With some of the materials, like kitchen towel, they are very absorbent and could probably soak up and hold on to one spoonful of water. That's why Mrs. Bates wanted them to add three spoonfuls - then some of the water would even drip through absorbent materials.
  • Question 5

Which of these three materials that the students tested do you think would be the most absorbent?

CORRECT ANSWER
kitchen towel
EDDIE SAYS
Kitchen towel is designed to soak up water and hold on to it, whereas tissues and cotton are only designed to cope with small quantities of water. So kitchen towel should be able to absorb the most water.
  • Question 6

Which of the materials tested do you think would be the best one to use to make a waterproof coat?

CORRECT ANSWER
plastic bags
EDDIE SAYS
Newspaper is not waterproof, so that's out. Rubber would work fine but it's a bit heavy to make into a coat - you'd be really uncomfortable and hot in it! Making a (throw-away) coat out of the soft plastic used in plastic bags would work - in fact, they give such 'coats' away at events like rock concerts and golf matches so the audience can shelter from the torrential rain!
  • Question 7

Divers often need to write things down when they are underwater. They use a special pencil to do this, but what material from the list do you think would make the best waterproof 'paper'?

CORRECT ANSWER
plastic
EDDIE SAYS
The paper would quickly turn to mush, the aluminium foil is too soft and would tear, so that leaves rubber and plastic. Rubber is too flexible and would keep bending and folding underwater, so a plastic sheet would be best - light and strong with a smooth surface for writing on.
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