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Investigating Materials: It's a Material of Opinion!

In this worksheet, students will decide on the best way to carry out investigations in order to generate useful data.

'Investigating Materials: It's a Material of Opinion!' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Properties and Changes of Materials

Curriculum subtopic:   Comparing and Grouping Properties of Materials

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Ewan, Kirsty and Robert are conducting a series of tests on different materials. They are trying to find out whether their materials are hard or soft, magnetic or non-magnetic, absorbent or waterproof, flexible or stiff

 

Wooden blocks Jumper Reel of wire PLastic bucket

 

They are hoping to carry out several investigations and experiments to test the different properties of their materials. They will also discover that different factors can affect the results of an investigation or a test.

 

  • variable is a factor that can affect the outcome of an investigation or experiment.
  • All investigations have an independent variable and a dependent variable.
  • The independent variable is the one that is deliberately changed by the person carrying out the test or investigation.
  • The dependent variable is the measurement you are trying to take and record.

 

That all make sense?  If not, read it through again, otherwise let's get stuck into the investigation!

Ewan has a box of different metals.

Box of metal bits

 

He thinks some of them may be magnetic and wants to investigate.

 

Which one of these tests would help him to find the answer?

see if a drawing pin sticks to any of the metals

see if the metal is hard or soft

see if the metal is attracted to a magnet

Kirsty has a box of non-metals. She is trying to sort all the different materials in the box.

Box of non-metals

 

She has decided to classify the materials as either hard or soft.

 

Which one of these tests would be the best one to help her decide?

squeeze the material gently to see if it's squashy

hit herself on the head with each one to see if it hurts

drop each material and see if it breaks

Robert has several different sheets of paper.  He wants to find out which is the most ABSORBENT (i.e. soaks up liquid).  

Roll of toilet tissue Lined paper Kitchen towel Greaseproof paper
toilet tissue writing paper kitchen towel grease-proof paper

 

It is important that Robert's investigation is fair.

 

Look at the list below. Select three things Robert can do to make sure his test is fair.

use same-sized sheets of each type of paper

repeat the same test 10 times

add water at the same temperature to each type of paper

add the same volume of water to each type of paper

use different-sized sheets of each type of paper

fold each piece of paper three times before doing the test

Robert places a 5 cm by 5 cm piece of paper into a bowl which contains 100 ml of cold tap water. He then times how long it takes for the paper to become fully saturated. He will stop timing after 5 minutes if the paper is not fully saturated.

 

Robert's results are in the table below:

 

Paper Time (Test 1) Time (Test 2) Time (Test 3) Average Time
Grease-proof  doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb  
Kitchen towel 3.12 secs 2.94 secs 3.01 secs  
Toilet tissue 0.41 secs 0.23 secs 0.21 secs  
Writing paper 3 mins 15 secs 3 mins 12 secs 3 mins 19 secs  

 

Look carefully at Robert's results and use them to decide which paper is the most absorbent.

grease-proof

writing paper

toilet tissue

kitchen towel

Let's have another look at Robert's table.

 

Paper Time (Test 1) Time (Test 2) Time (Test 3) Average Time
Grease-proof  doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb
Kitchen towel 3.12 secs 2.94 secs 3.01 secs 3.03 sec
Toilet tissue 0.41 secs 0.23 secs 0.21 secs 0.28 sec
Writing paper 3 mins 15 secs 3 mins 12 secs 3 mins 19 secs ?

 

Robert has calculated the average time taken for the kitchen towel and the toilet tissue to become fully saturated. However, he is struggling to calculate the correct average for the writing paper.

 

Robert's table is not very accurate.

 

Can you identify the major source of inaccuracy in his table from the two possibilities below?

He hasn't written a time for grease-proof paper. He's just said it didn't absorb.

He's recorded the time for writing paper in mixed units. All the other times have been recorded in just one unit.

Ewan wants to test how flexible different types of card are. He has some small 1 g masses and a ruler. He's puzzled about how he could use those to help him find out which type of card is the most flexible and which is the stiffest. What do you suggest?

 

Metal weights Plastic ruler

 

Put the options below in the correct order, according to how you think Ewan should do the experiment.

Column A

Column B

1
measure again
2
continue until the card bends so much that the mas...
3
add another mass
4
use a ruler to see how much the card has bent
5
place a 1 g mass on the edge of the card and see i...
6
put a sheet of card on a table with 5 cm hanging o...

Robert has finished his table now.

 

Paper Time (Test 1) Time (Test 2) Time (Test 3) Average Time
Grease-proof  doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb
Kitchen towel 3.12 secs 2.94 secs 3.01 secs 3.02 sec
Toilet tissue 0.41 secs 0.23 secs 0.21 secs 0.28 sec
Writing paper 195 sec 192 sec 199 sec 195.3 sec

 

What sort of graph should Robert draw to represent his results for the average time it takes for each paper to absorb the water?

 

Chose ONE type of graph from the four below, thinking how he would want his results to look in order to make them clear.

bar chart

line graph

pie chart

scatter graph

Remember, a variable is a factor that can affect the outcome of an investigation or experiment.

All investigations have an independent variable and a dependent variable. The independent variable is the one that you deliberately change (like the number of spoonfuls of sugar in your tea) and the dependent variable is the measurement you are trying to take and record (like how long the sugar takes to dissolve).

 

Think about Robert's investigation.

"Robert places a 5 cm by 5 cm piece of paper into a bowl which contains 100 ml of cold tap water. He then times how long it takes for the paper to become fully saturated. He will stop timing after 5 minutes if the paper is not fully saturated."

 

What is the dependent variable of Robert's investigation?

the size of the paper

the time taken for the paper to become fully saturated

the volume of water Robert uses

Can you remember what Ewan was up to?

Here is a quick recap:

"Ewan wants to test how flexible different types of card are. He has some small 1 g masses and a ruler."

 

What did Ewan deliberately change during his experiment? In other words, what was his independent variable?

the number of masses

the flexibility of the card

Think back to Kirsty's box of materials. She's trying to find out how hard or soft a particular material is.

 

Is this Kirsty's independent or dependent variable?

 

Write the correct answer below and make sure you spell it correctly!

 

Write one word.

  • Question 1

Ewan has a box of different metals.

Box of metal bits

 

He thinks some of them may be magnetic and wants to investigate.

 

Which one of these tests would help him to find the answer?

CORRECT ANSWER
see if the metal is attracted to a magnet
EDDIE SAYS
If a metal is magnetic then it will be attracted to a magnet; it won't be able to attract things on its own as IT is not an actual magnet.
Iron and nickel are two magnetic metals that you may have heard of.
  • Question 2

Kirsty has a box of non-metals. She is trying to sort all the different materials in the box.

Box of non-metals

 

She has decided to classify the materials as either hard or soft.

 

Which one of these tests would be the best one to help her decide?

CORRECT ANSWER
squeeze the material gently to see if it's squashy
EDDIE SAYS
If something's dropped and breaks, that doesn't mean it isn't hard - it means it's brittle (breaks easily): glass and china are hard but brittle.
Squeezing it is best. Soft materials will squash and change their shape, like a teddy bear, while hard ones won't, like a mug.
Never hit yourself on the head with a mug or saucepan to see if it's hard. It is extremely silly and very dangerous!
  • Question 3

Robert has several different sheets of paper.  He wants to find out which is the most ABSORBENT (i.e. soaks up liquid).  

Roll of toilet tissue Lined paper Kitchen towel Greaseproof paper
toilet tissue writing paper kitchen towel grease-proof paper

 

It is important that Robert's investigation is fair.

 

Look at the list below. Select three things Robert can do to make sure his test is fair.

CORRECT ANSWER
use same-sized sheets of each type of paper
add water at the same temperature to each type of paper
add the same volume of water to each type of paper
EDDIE SAYS
Robert should definitely use the same volume of water, at the same temperature, and make sure that each sheet of paper is the same size and not folded.
If Robert repeats each test several times his results will be much more accurate than if he only carried out each test once, but 10 times is un-necessary!
You could do this test at home. You could investigate which type of paper is the most absorbent: writing paper, toilet tissue, kitchen roll, newspaper or grease-proof paper.
You will also need: a measuring jug, a syringe or pipette, a stopwatch, a lunch box or Tupperware container to carry out each test in (make sure it has a flat bottom), a pencil and ruler, and some scissors. Use cold tap water to ensure that the water is at the same temperature.
Place each sheet of paper into 30 ml of water (in the container), and time how long it takes the paper to become fully saturated.
Good luck!
  • Question 4

Robert places a 5 cm by 5 cm piece of paper into a bowl which contains 100 ml of cold tap water. He then times how long it takes for the paper to become fully saturated. He will stop timing after 5 minutes if the paper is not fully saturated.

 

Robert's results are in the table below:

 

Paper Time (Test 1) Time (Test 2) Time (Test 3) Average Time
Grease-proof  doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb  
Kitchen towel 3.12 secs 2.94 secs 3.01 secs  
Toilet tissue 0.41 secs 0.23 secs 0.21 secs  
Writing paper 3 mins 15 secs 3 mins 12 secs 3 mins 19 secs  

 

Look carefully at Robert's results and use them to decide which paper is the most absorbent.

CORRECT ANSWER
toilet tissue
EDDIE SAYS
Toilet paper is fully saturated almost instantly. It is the most absorbent paper.
  • Question 5

Let's have another look at Robert's table.

 

Paper Time (Test 1) Time (Test 2) Time (Test 3) Average Time
Grease-proof  doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb
Kitchen towel 3.12 secs 2.94 secs 3.01 secs 3.03 sec
Toilet tissue 0.41 secs 0.23 secs 0.21 secs 0.28 sec
Writing paper 3 mins 15 secs 3 mins 12 secs 3 mins 19 secs ?

 

Robert has calculated the average time taken for the kitchen towel and the toilet tissue to become fully saturated. However, he is struggling to calculate the correct average for the writing paper.

 

Robert's table is not very accurate.

 

Can you identify the major source of inaccuracy in his table from the two possibilities below?

CORRECT ANSWER
He's recorded the time for writing paper in mixed units. All the other times have been recorded in just one unit.
EDDIE SAYS
It's really important that you record results in just one unit, not two. Time should always be measured in seconds.
Three minutes is actually 180 seconds (3 x 60). So a time of 3 minutes 15 seconds should be recorded as 195 seconds (180 + 15).
Lots of people make this very easy error when drawing up results tables and it can lead to some seriously muddled results!
  • Question 6

Ewan wants to test how flexible different types of card are. He has some small 1 g masses and a ruler. He's puzzled about how he could use those to help him find out which type of card is the most flexible and which is the stiffest. What do you suggest?

 

Metal weights Plastic ruler

 

Put the options below in the correct order, according to how you think Ewan should do the experiment.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1
put a sheet of card on a table wi...
2
place a 1 g mass on the edge of t...
3
use a ruler to see how much the c...
4
add another mass
5
measure again
6
continue until the card bends so ...
EDDIE SAYS
It's so easy just to get stuck into an investigation without really thinking through WHAT you want to find out and HOW you want to find it out! That means really thinking through the steps in the experiment: measure, add weights, measure again and so on, is the basic idea. When you've finished this investigation you will have the following information: how far the card bent with each 1 g mass and how many 1 g masses it could hold before they slid off onto the floor - that would show whether the card was flexible or stiff.
  • Question 7

Robert has finished his table now.

 

Paper Time (Test 1) Time (Test 2) Time (Test 3) Average Time
Grease-proof  doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb doesn't absorb
Kitchen towel 3.12 secs 2.94 secs 3.01 secs 3.02 sec
Toilet tissue 0.41 secs 0.23 secs 0.21 secs 0.28 sec
Writing paper 195 sec 192 sec 199 sec 195.3 sec

 

What sort of graph should Robert draw to represent his results for the average time it takes for each paper to absorb the water?

 

Chose ONE type of graph from the four below, thinking how he would want his results to look in order to make them clear.

CORRECT ANSWER
bar chart
EDDIE SAYS
Robert should draw a bar chart to represent his data. Bar charts show this sort of data really clearly as they enable a comparison between different types of variable to be shown in different-sized/coloured bars.
  • Question 8

Remember, a variable is a factor that can affect the outcome of an investigation or experiment.

All investigations have an independent variable and a dependent variable. The independent variable is the one that you deliberately change (like the number of spoonfuls of sugar in your tea) and the dependent variable is the measurement you are trying to take and record (like how long the sugar takes to dissolve).

 

Think about Robert's investigation.

"Robert places a 5 cm by 5 cm piece of paper into a bowl which contains 100 ml of cold tap water. He then times how long it takes for the paper to become fully saturated. He will stop timing after 5 minutes if the paper is not fully saturated."

 

What is the dependent variable of Robert's investigation?

CORRECT ANSWER
the time taken for the paper to become fully saturated
EDDIE SAYS
Robert measured the time taken for the paper to become fully saturated. This is his dependent variable.
  • Question 9

Can you remember what Ewan was up to?

Here is a quick recap:

"Ewan wants to test how flexible different types of card are. He has some small 1 g masses and a ruler."

 

What did Ewan deliberately change during his experiment? In other words, what was his independent variable?

CORRECT ANSWER
the number of masses
EDDIE SAYS
Ewan deliberately added more and more masses to his pieces of card. This was his independent variable.
  • Question 10

Think back to Kirsty's box of materials. She's trying to find out how hard or soft a particular material is.

 

Is this Kirsty's independent or dependent variable?

 

Write the correct answer below and make sure you spell it correctly!

 

Write one word.

CORRECT ANSWER
dependent
EDDIE SAYS
The dependent variable is the factor you are trying to measure. Kirsty is trying to measure how hard or soft a particular material is.
---- OR ----

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